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Smarter approach to defence spending could save $10B: report

UBC professor says the government needs to rethink major purchases like the F-35 fighter jets.


June 30, 2015
by The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — A new report says there are smarter ways to spend scarce defence dollars that could save $10 billion while at the same time boosting Canada’s military capabilities.

The study by UBC professor Michael Byers says the government needs to rethink major purchases like the F-35 fighter jets and reallocate funding to the military’s more immediate priorities.

Byers, who once ran for the New Democrats, says current procurement decisions are holding back the Canadian Forces’ ability to contribute more meaningfully to missions like the one currently underway in Iraq and Syria.

For example, he says the air force needs more planes that could provide closer air support to soldiers and more trucks to help get them supplies.

But money is earmarked instead for equipment like submarines, which he argues aren’t a necessity, or the F-35s, which may not be the right plane for Canada’s needs.

In total, the report makes 23 recommendations, which also touch on rebooting the entire defence procurement process.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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