Supporting our troops isn’t just a slogan

The Harper government’s budget and the fallout from it will be felt for quite some time as job losses become reality.  That new reality will be highlighted by the decreasing ability of our public servants to do the work we count on and will show up in ways people don’t consider when everything is still theoretical.

For years, I have been critical of the way our government treats our veterans, suggesting they should apply as much vigor for our vets as they do when they pronounce their undying support for our troops.  Never in a million years did I believe they would even out their commitment by gutting our military, but that is what this budget has done in a big way.  To be fair, the government also cut more from the Department of Veterans Affairs which was already staffed at a threadbare level before the budget; proving this bunch could teach the infamous Mr. Grinch a thing or two about being mean hearted and cynical.

The cuts to our military amount to more than 1100 jobs.  Not all are soldiers, but the work that many civilians do will now be covered by soldiers who will see their special training wasted as they become tied to desk jobs.  Many will be disillusioned and some will also see how the skill set they are now employing can be better rewarded outside the military.  Either way, it is hardly the stuff of the recent recruiting campaigns Canada has undertaken.

This is happening because of the Conservative government’s unbridled enthusiasm for sweeping cuts which can miss the fat and cut to the bone .  In fact, the cuts are part of an unhealthy fixation on smaller government and are not at all concerned with being a smarter government.  When viewed in this light, the ‘austerity’ budget appears to be, primarily, a look before you leap document that stinks of the same bad decision making we are learning about in the fallout from the F-35 costing scandal.

All in all, this government is going about giving itself unnecessary black eyes.  They have shown us they are not the sound fiscal managers they claimed to be and now have put into question their support for our troops.  There is no doubt they are big fans of the military industrial complex, but that is hardly a surprise.   They are willing to cut our military to the bone in order to buy weapons, but unwilling to make certain any of this made sense or was prudent before they took action based on ideology and opinion.