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

Just Posted

These Douglas fir logs were recently found poached on Stoney Hill in North Cowichan’s forest reserve. (Larry Pynn/sixmountains.ca)
OPINION: Cowichan Valley’s Six Mountains Forest: War or Peace—The Choice is Ours

Icel Dobel writes in favour of protecting Cowichan Valley forests

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Cedar, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday, May 17, on Barnes Road

The former St. Joseph’s School converted to the St. Joseph’s Art Studios in 2019. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Former Chemainus St. Joseph’s School site sold to addictions recovery group

Diocese stresses the importance of a community outreach option in its decision

The bow-legged bear was seen roaming 2nd Avenue on Friday, May 7 and again in Brown Drive Park on May 13. (Submitted photo)
Bow-legged Ladysmith bear euthanized after vet examination

CO Stuart Bates said the bear had obvious health issues

The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District is working with several Vancouver Island art councils on the Digitial Innovation Group to improve digital skills for Island artists. (Submitted photo)
Digital Innovation Group supports digital literacy for Island artists

The goal is to leverage digital skills to promote Vancouver Island as an ‘arts powerhouse’

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Cedar, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday, May 17, on Barnes Road

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Discarded construction materials make up nearly 40 per cent of all materials sent to the landfill from sources in the city of Victoria. (Zero Waste Victoria)
Victoria looks to curb waste by turning demolitions into deconstructions

Community drafting bylaw forcing developers to be better at salvage and recycling

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

Most Read