Early projections suggest hike in some vets programs as overall budget shrinks

The Harper government’s road map to this year’s federal budget suggests it is prepared to pour more money into programs and services for the country’s veterans, while largely holding the line on defence spending.

OTTAWA — The Harper government’s road map to this year’s federal budget suggests it is prepared to pour more money into programs and services for the country’s veterans, while largely holding the line on defence spending.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement released the 2015-16 spending estimates on Tuesday, even though it’s unclear when the budget will be tabled.

The Conservative government’s final fiscal plan before this year’s election was postponed until at least April by Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who said he needed the time to assess the impact of collapsing oil prices.

The government has been under mounting political pressure to improve the suite of benefits and entitlements for ex-soldiers.

The estimates, which are not the final word on the budget, project modest increases in the amount spent on disability awards and supplementary benefits.

Despite that, overall spending at Veterans Affairs is expected to decline by 1.5 per cent— or $54 million next year, something federal officials attribute to the declining number of Second World War and Korean War veterans.

Veterans Affairs Canada spends just over $3.5 billion per year.

Over at National Defence, another politically-charged portfolio, spending is expected to increase by 1.5 per cent — $280 million — in the coming year, bringing the military budget to $18.9 billion.

Officials say they will be saving $709.2 million in capital costs, some of which is likely related to the cancellation of the army’s plans for a close-combat vehicle and delays in acquiring maritime helicopters for the air force.

Just Posted

Police say a woman in the Red Deer area may be in danger

Public’s assistance is urgently requested

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Wickenheiser, Pegula reflect NHL’s trend toward diversity

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a laugh, Kim Pegula’s competitive nature kicked in… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

DUBBO, Australia — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked… Continue reading

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer… Continue reading

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent in August: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Brian Mulroney joins board of directors of New York-based pot company

NEW YORK — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is joining the board… Continue reading

Canadians waking up to legalized cannabis: ‘My new dealer is the prime minister’

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadians across the country woke up to legalized… Continue reading

B.C. man accused of swimming naked in Toronto shark tank arrested in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Police have arrested a B.C. man who is… Continue reading

Most Read