Shortchanging our Men and Women in Uniform

March 20, 2017
This week in the House of Commons, Members of Parliament will be voting on an important motion that calls on the Liberal government to support our brave men and women serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.

The motion in question was put on notice by my good friend and colleague, MP James Bezan, who is also the Official Opposition Critic for National Defence. In February, it was reported in the news that all Canadian troops in the fight against ISIS will lose a tax benefit that provided them with $1,500 to $1,800 per month. Fifteen of our soldiers at Camp Arifjian in Kuwait originally lost this benefit in September 2016; and after Conservative MPs repeatedly raised this issue with the Liberal government over the last 6 months, Justin Trudeau decided to end the benefit entirely for all of our troops stationed in Kuwait. One soldier who spoke off the record stated that he feels like “we got kicked in the stomach.”

This is what our Canadian men and women received from the Liberal government when they asked for help – a complete and utter lack of respect and awareness for the real challenges that they face on a daily basis. It is a slap in the face to Canada’s soldiers.

The men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces volunteer to leave their families as they travel abroad to perform dangerous work and put themselves at risk in service to their country. They miss birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and many other family milestones; and while those memories cannot be replaced by an extra $1,500 a year, it is the least the government can do to show our troops that we acknowledge and value their sacrifice.

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have known for months that Canadian troops who are deployed in the fight against ISIS have not been adequately compensated for the hardship and risk associated with their deployment. But instead of reinstating it, they cut it for everybody. Even worse, this decision was made after the troops had agreed to deploy. In cutting this benefit, the Liberals have cheated our troops and their families out of hard-earned money that they expected, that they counted on, and that they more than deserve.

Given that this Liberal government continues to rack up record deficits, it is absolutely astonishing that the one place they would choose to pinch pennies is on the backs of the hard working men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. They’d rather approve exorbitant renovation bills for ministerial offices in Ottawa to the tune of millions of dollars and send billions of dollars overseas than support those that actually keep our country safe.

In Justin Trudeau’s first budget as Prime Minister, he pulled a page from the old Liberal playbook and cut $3.7 billion from the defence budget. When he announces his second budget this week, we will be watching to ensure that Canadians know if and how our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces will be shortchanged again.
Conservatives have been listening to the families of those affected by this disgraceful Liberal decision and we have raised the issue on multiple occasions.

Mr. Bezan’s motion, which we will vote on this week in the House of Commons, is just another way in which we will continue to draw attention to Justin Trudeau’s decision and try to convince the Liberals to finally do the right thing.

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