OTTAWA ? Senior National Defence Critic for the Official Opposition, Jay Hill, said today that the Prime Minister continues to exploit voter demands for federal investment in the Canadian Forces by attempting to present old and previously announced military expenditures as ?new spending?.
Martin and the Minister of National Defence, David Pratt, are expected to hold a press conference at CFB Gagetown today to announce a series of military equipment purchases. However, the bulk of this spending has already been announced by both the Chretien and Martin governments, including the Stryker MGS and new Search and Rescue aircraft.
?I welcome any ?new? investment in the Canadian Forces, but there should be an expiry date or a limit on the number of times the Liberals can make these grand
re-announcements on military purchases they delayed so long that our soldiers have been forced to ?make do? with broken-down equipment,? suggested Hill.
Hill pointed out, ?It?s rather insulting for the Prime Minister to grandstand on the SeaKing replacements after his government delayed the program for more than a decade and we?ve just learned that the 40-plus-year-old helicopters will have to be flown for another eight years before supply and training for the new maritime helicopters is complete.?
Hill also questioned why more information on the purchase of three supply ships wasn?t included in the recent federal budget. ?The Prime Minister?s motivation for announcing the details of the new supply ships at this particular time is suspect,? stated Hill. ?This military press conference is simply another media event that allows Martin to maintain the pretense of conducting ?official? federal business so that taxpayers foot the bill while he plugs local Liberal candidates on his pre-election campaign tour of the country.?
Hill concluded, ?Canada?s military needs ?new? funding to meet their operational requirements of today, not just money for ?new? equipment years into the future.?