Friday, February 17, 2006

Promises, Promises

Remember during the election campaign, when the Liberals accused the Conservatives of faulty accounting with regard to their spending proposals. The Conservatives dismissed the Liberal concerns as partisan politics, pointing to respected economists who had validated the Conservative plan. One of the more ambitious Conservative proposals surrounded the Canadian military expenditure. Well, it looks like this election promise was more fantasy, than practical:
Conservative election promises to bolster the military with new ships, soldiers and an Arctic force are long on ambition, but may have come up short on money, say defence analysts.

The Tories promised to recruit 13,000 new, full-time soldiers and another 10,000 reservists; to build three heavy, armed icebreakers, an Arctic deepsea port and a surveillance system to keep watch over the North; and to buy new ships and planes.

They pledged to add $5.3 billion to the defence budget over five years..

But analysts say the promises already look far more costly than the Tories have suggested.

"I think the Conservatives did low-ball their spending estimates," says Steve Staples of the Polaris Institute.

If the Conservatives forge ahead with their ambitious plans, the cost overruns weaken our financial bottomline. If the Conservatives abandon some of their defence platform, it serves as a broken promise. I suspect, as time passes, the Liberal concerns raised during the campaign will be validated.

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