Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Alta., Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is facing a shortfall of several thousand troops thanks at least in part to challenges training new recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Alta., Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is facing a shortfall of several thousand troops thanks at least in part to challenges training new recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Federal Budget 2021: Money promised for military sex misconduct fight, NORAD upgrades

Liberal government also sought to address another source of anger, this time from the veteran community

The federal Liberals are promising millions of additional dollars to help fight sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces as they seek to address anger and frustration over how the government and military have handled the issue.

The funding is part of a series of targeted investments for Canada’s military and those in uniform included in Monday’s federal budget, the first such spending plan from the Liberals in more than two years.

More than $77 million in new money is being added to the battle against military sexual misconduct while the government says it will be redirecting another $158 million from other parts of the Armed Forces to address the issue in the ranks.

The budget plan says the new money will be used to increase victim support services, develop new prevention training and bring in more independent oversight of the military’s handling of complaints.

But it does not say where the redirected money will come from, or what form that independent oversight might take.

The promised funds come as the government and military have rushed to respond to the anger, frustration and turmoil over recent allegations of sexual misconduct against several senior leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“The government is committed to taking further action to strengthen accountability mechanisms, promote culture change in the military, and provide a safe space for survivors to report misconduct and access the services they need,” the budget plan reads.

The Liberal government also sought to address another source of anger, this time from the veteran community, which has been complaining for years about a backlog in the processing of applications for disability claims.

Advocates have warned that the backlog is forcing many at-risk veterans to wait years at times before they can access mental-health services.

The government says it is making $140 million available over the next five years so veterans can obtain such services while they wait for their disability claims to be processed. There is also money for veterans’ homelessness and retraining.

The 739-page budget document does not make any grand pronouncements or major changes to the Liberals’ plan for the military, and instead appears to reaffirm the government’s plan to continue following the defence policy it first unveiled in 2017.

That will be welcome news to the defence industry, analysts and allies given the economic damage wrought by COVID-19 and past examples of federal governments slashing military spending to help balance the budget.

Also welcome will be $163 million in dedicated funds over the next five years to start work with the United States on replacing the North American defensive system known as NORAD, which military officials and others have said is long overdue.

There is also money being set aside to keep the existing system, which was built decades ago and is long past its best-before date, up and running until it can be replaced. Analysts have suggested the full replacement will cost billions.

“These early measures will position Canada to move forward hand-in-hand with the United States on modernizing NORAD and to maintain continental defence and deterrence capabilities,” the budget plan reads.

The government is also making money available to meet a promise that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in December 2019 to increase the number of fighter jets and warships ready to respond quickly to a request from the NATO military alliance.

The budget also confirms that the government will be extending a controversial measure designed to punish companies bidding for military contracts who have “harmed Canada’s economic interests.”

The measure was first introduced in December 2017 after Boeing filed a complaint against Bombardier. While it only applied to the $19-billion competition to buy new fighter jets, the government says it is extending it to all major military procurements.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

2021 Federal BudgetCoronavirusfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Citizens Patrol volunteers, from left, Deb McDonald, Denise Thompson and Paula Weir patrol the Mall at Piccadilly parking lot on Saturday, May 1, 2021 checking licence plates. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Citizens Patrol volunteers save motorists a quick $100

Drivers in Salmon Arm receive reminders in parking lot rather than tickets

Grizzly bear. (File)
Malakwa man bitten by grizzly bear on dog walk

The man and dogs were not seriously injured

A hummingbird gives its wings a rare rest while feeding in a North Okanagan garden. (Karen Siemens/North Okanagan Naturalists Club)
Hummingbirds back for another Okanagan season

North America’s littlest birds return, and they’re hungry

(File photo)
Ex-Vernon man’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: murder victim’s mother

Shane Ertmoed was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of 10-year-old Heather Thomas

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

(Kingfisher Boats photo)
In the market for a boat in the North Okanagan? Be prepared to wait

Vernon’s Kingfisher Boats is out of 2021 models, with many 2022 models already pre-sold

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

George Ryga, considered by many as Canada’s most important English playwright lived in Summerland from 1963 until his death in 1987. He is the inspiration for the annual Ryga Arts Festival. (Contributed)
Summerland archive established for George Ryga

Renowned author wrote novels, poetry, stage plays and screen plays from Summerland home

Most Read