Election Coverage

Green Party Defence and Veterans Policies

If elected into government for the first time in history, the Green Party led by Elizabeth May, would cut down spending on private defence contractors and primarily use the military as a peacekeeping force.

The Green Party has frankly stated its support of the military and the need for it to be properly equipped but comments on how money is being wasted on things such as private contractors. The Green Party has also referenced Andrew Leslie’s report on cutbacks in the DND and Forces as a decent policy.

According to their policies, The Green Party is more focused on using the military for disaster relief and peacekeeping.

“We need to pursue a revised vision for Canadian defence policy with a focus on disaster response, search-and-rescue, and peacekeeping. In particular, we need to move ahead in purchase of ice-breakers, fixed-wing search and rescue (SAR) aircraft, and Coast Guard vessels.”

If elected, May promises to cut costs by reducing by 30 per cent the 2.7 billion spent on DND consultants and other private contractors, asking reservists to take part-time positions and procurement of equipment needed for disaster relief.

The Green Party has also been forthright in the Party’s attitude on Canada’s role in the world.

“Canada has strayed dangerously far from our peacemaking roots. Canada’s international policy has evolved into what is called a ‘3-D’ model. The D’s are diplomacy, development, and defence.” The policy goes on to state “The Green Party will restore the capacity for superb diplomacy, a traditional Canadian strength. We will increase our overseas development assistance and revamp the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to focus more on developing green economies and on poverty alleviation. We will expand our defence role in UN-led peacekeeping missions and in emergency and disaster relief and equip it accordingly.”

Some of the proposed changes to shift Canada’s role on the world stage are:

  • Re-align defence spending to increase capacity and speed for delivering disaster relief through the Disaster Assistance Rapid Response Team. As well as contributing to UN peacekeeping forces.
  • Decreasing contributions to NATO missions.
  • Rebuild “broken linkages” between DND, CAF, Canadian International Development Agency and Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
  • Oppose the use of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.
  • Call for a global nuclear disarmament and convert military industries in Canada to “peaceful and restorative industries.”

The Green Party has also repeatedly criticized Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the New Veterans Charter (NVC) by saying, “VAC is now run like a for-profit medical insurance corporation. The policy manuals are specifically tailored to initially deny applications for programs and benefits based on a maze of confusing and contradictory eligibility requirements. VAC will not tell you what programs are available. You must know beforehand what programs are available and whether you qualify.”

Last month, May announced that the Green Party supports increased funding for veterans services and reopening Veterans Affairs offices. She also advocated for special funding for any service dogs for any veterans suffering from PTSD.

May has also promised to re-write VAC’s policy manual and the NVC.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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