Defence spending expected to fall despite Liberal promise to keep up with Tories

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is defending the new Liberal government's spending plans as budget documents suggest the military's overall budget is expected to shrink by about $400 million in the coming year.

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is defending the new Liberal government’s spending plans as budget documents suggest the military’s overall budget is expected to shrink by about $400 million in the coming year.

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to maintain the former Conservative government’s defence spending levels and increase funding in 2017, as laid out in last year’s federal budget.

Preliminary budget estimates for the coming year show the military is expected to end the year with a budget of just over $19 billion, but planned spending in the coming year amounts to $18.64 billion.

Trudeau’s government has been under pressure from allies to increase what it spends on defence, with both the U.S. and Britain pointedly asking Canada to try and meet the NATO benchmark of two per cent of gross domestic product.

National Defence routinely goes back for more funding later in the year, and Sajjan says the government remains committed to budget increases through a mechanism known as the defence escalator.

But documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act show those annual increases don’t keep up with inflation and have been more than offset by the previous Harper government’s earlier spending cuts.

Just Posted

Man accused of manslaughter in fatal collision testifies he was cut off

A Delburne man accused of causing a fatal collision said he was… Continue reading

Class size targets hard to reach in Red Deer

Red Deer Public Schools recently updated its average class size

Lotteries look to younger customers to increase sales

Promoting online and interactive games

Red Deer man helps light up the holidays for others

Jim Elliott’s in his 15th year of mapping the city’s most magical, lit-up homes

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Sex assault trial for former gymnastics coach resumes in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — The trial of a former high-ranking gymnastics coach accused… Continue reading

Victims of former ski coach Charest say they were ‘sacrificed’ by Alpine Canada

MONTREAL — A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Alpine Canada by three victims… Continue reading

Emily Blunt on the ‘daunting’ task of playing Mary Poppins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Emily Blunt loves a challenge, and in the… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says Canada’s weed legalization has kept ‘underground market alive’

TORONTO — Tommy Chong has a pass, man. While some Canadians who… Continue reading

Apple deepens Austin ties, expands operations east and west

AUSTIN, Texas — Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin,… Continue reading

Trump comments upend U.S. approach to Huawei, trade talks

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have taken pains this week… Continue reading

Most Read