Please consider the following quotations:
“[Canadians have] a clear choice between aircraft carriers or health care” — Paul Martin during the 2004 federal election campaign on the difference between the Liberals and the Conservative Party of Canada
“Over the past six fiscal years, Canada has spent approximately $107 million on strategic airlift, an average of $18 million per year. This is but a mere fraction of the annual interest on the cost of our own strategic airlift – let alone the capital cost. And no one has yet been able to give me a single instance where the absence of this capability stopped us or significantly delayed us in moving people or equipment from point A to point B.” — Minister of Defense, Hon. John McCallum in a speech in October 2003.
The DART team was delayed by many days and will finally ship out this Thursday by two Russian-built Antonov heavy-lift aircraft. Moving the team will take a total of four flights (in sequence, not in parallel).
The drastic cuts to the Canadian military to a near point of non-existence has severely crippled Canada’s ability to live up to its international obligations. We might have intended to send DART to the areas affected by the tsunamis, however, we did not have the airlift capacity to do so. Other countries have their own strategic airlift capacity while others charter other aircraft (such as the Russian Antonov planes). Australia, for example, uses its own national commercial domestic cargo carrier Adagold. Canada has outsourced its airlift capacity and has delayed the deployment of DART as a result.
The Conservative Party of Canada and Stephen Harper, promised to increase military spending during the last election. The Liberals effectively scared Canadians by making them believe that military spending has some sort “war-mongering hidden agenda”. By gutting our military and by slashing our strategic airlift capacity, the Liberals have tied the helping hands of our military and Canada’s capacity as an international contributor to peace and humanitarian aid continues to pale.
As Canadians, we can still help provide tsunami relief. Click here for a list of charities providing tsunami relief