Like any good party on the right side of the spectrum, the Conservatives of Canada want to appear to be pro-military. Oh, and they want their opponents to be seen as undermining the patriotic lads and lasses that go into combat. In the past seven years or so, Harper and his folks have been pretty effective at this, even as Paul Martin was the one that started the boom in defence spending.
Lately, however, despite a re-naming and re-framing enterprise (Royal, Armed, etc.), Harper is losing his touch. While we could consider much, two recent things stand out--one short-lived and one long term.
The short-term one is this: the trainers in Afghanistan are having their "danger pay" reduced since they are not in as much danger as the combat rotations of yore. Sure, but given the threat of green on blue, Afghan trainees attacking their trainers, threat, the danger is still significant. Indeed, the mission was designed to reduce the danger, but it has not been eliminated. Cutting danger pay halfway through one of the last rotations seems to be a strange place to save money. So close to the end, and now the Conservatives seem to be wanting to lose their status as being super-supportive of the CF.
The funny thing is the comparison with the other dynamic of 2013: maintaining the size of the CF while cutting funding. Because the big costs are personnel and big weapons projects, which are not being cut, the money must come from the magical admin costs that are always seemingly easy to cut AND from operations and maintenance. In the US, this is called hollowing out the force, as the military is degraded when it cannot practice/train.
Which is less supportive of the military? Keeping the numbers at the same level with strains on ops and maintenance or dropping the numbers some but keeping ops and such at normal levels?
My guess is that the Conservatives hope no one notices any of this. If only everybody kept to the approved talking points.
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