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

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Younger Princeton residents are now being urged to register for a vaccination notification. (Black Press Media photo)
Princeton lags behind in vaccination rates

Approximately 24 per cent of residents here have received their first dose

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Okanagan First Nation band concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, much to dismay of Splatsin First Nation near Enderby

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
UPDATE: Winfield road open following police, coroner investigation

Pelmewash Parkway closure near Highway 97 connection

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

RCMP (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
High-risk takedown on Highway 1 following Shuswap shooting

Upon further investigation, the vehicle and its occupants were not associated with the shooting

Most Read