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

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

MBSS visual art students helped make the Cottage Restaurant’s protective barrier stand out for the summer. (Barry Coulter photo)
Artists give Cottage patio blocks a blast of colour

Mount Baker Secondary School visual art students gave the protective barrier at… Continue reading

Stuart Ashley Jones, 56, was at Grand Forks provincial court for sentencing on May 5, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks man shot by police during massive flood sentenced to house arrest

Stuart Ashley Jones was shot by a Grand Forks Mountie after ramming two police cruisers in May 2018

SD5 and SD6 have added electric school buses to their transportation fleets. Photo courtesy B.C. Government.
East Kootenay school districts add electric buses to fleets

Two school districts in the East Kootenay are adding an electric school… Continue reading

Two Pileated Woodpeckers sharing the bounty! Kathleen Opal photo
Urban wildlife Part XI: The East Kootenay birds (and others) of 2021

The work of local photographers in the Advertiser throughout 2021. Part XI. With links to Parts I-X

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read