Canadian Armed Forces soldiers from 2e Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, August 2023. (Photo by: Master Corporal Alana Morin)

In late August, Treasury Board president Anita Anand instructed cabinet ministers to identify $15.4 billion in budget cuts over five years. 

While the budget pledged that these cuts would not “impact” the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Bill Blair, who replaced Anand as defence minister in July, told a parliamentary committee on September 28 that the Department of National Defence was identifying “proposals for spending reductions” of $900-million annually over four years. 

Blair has said the cuts will not reduce defence spending but will merely reduce the rate at which spending is increased in the coming years. He has also said that he expects to find a large portion of the needed cuts by eliminating travel and consulting fees.  

However, experts are critical of the Department of National Defence (DND) being included in the government’s cost-cutting exercise at a time when Canada has committed to increasing military spending. And they are sceptical that the cuts won’t affect the CAF’s recruitment efforts, capabilities and standing abroad. 

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Fin DePencier is a journalist, photographer and filmmaker based in Toronto. Over the past few years, he has reported on the ground from Ukraine, Armenia, Lebanon and Kazakhstan as a correspondent for Palladium...