In a good window of the future of the Canadian Forces and how they look to treat our serving men and women one need only look at the recent announcement made by Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson.
These kinds of budget cuts by blaming accounting errors or the Treasury Board is what we will see more in the future especially as the Vice Admiral will probably the next Chief of Defence Staff. Telling bad news is a kind of litmus tests to see how he would handle giving out bad news to the Canadian public and how he handles himself at news conferences.
The military is looking at releasing all the wounded that are unable to complete the fitness tests, even though there are many overweight or unfit people working at headquarters or throughout the various bases. This is another cost saving measure to reduce the budgetary amounts that DND is paying to the wounded and injured.
It appears that treasury board is rearing its ugly head again and first it was VAC now the soldiers serving overseas......
The unauthorized benefits include:
- Next-of-kin visits to Afghanistan.
- Travel fee reimbursements for troops deployed to different parts of Canada.
- Bonuses for overseas postings and allowances for soldiers assigned away from families.
- Use of taxpayer dollars to bring families of fallen soldiers killed in Afghanistan to repatriation ceremonies.
"the Canadian Forces understand that deployments can be challenging for families, and have the resources in place to help.'"
DND halts millions in benefits
|MEMORIAL Misty Lyttle pays tribute to her brother, Sapper Steven Marshall, killed in Afghanistan in 2009, at the cenotaph in Kandahar 0ct 2010|
Jonathan Montpetit/THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Canadian military says an error at the Department of National Defence resulted in tens of millions of dollars worth of benefit payments paid to up to 7,000 service members over the last five years.
The benefits include the Defence Department's use of taxpayer dollars to bring families of fallen soldiers killed in Afghanistan to repatriation ceremonies, which did not receive proper approval from the Treasury Board.
The DND payments will be cut off at midnight Tuesday while the military reviews the benefit assessments and payment process, said Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, vice-chief of the defence staff.
In a hastily arranged news conference at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Donaldson said an internal review determined DND officials mistakenly changed internal eligibility policies for benefits offered to military posted outside Canada and their next of kin. The unauthorized benefits also include next-of-kin visits to Afghanistan, travel fee reimbursements for troops deployed to different parts of Canada, bonuses for overseas postings and allowances for soldiers assigned away from families.
'We didn't do our homework'
Donaldson stressed the error was the result of an "interpretation" by military administrators over eligibility for payments, and servicemen and women who received the benefits did not do anything wrong. "Canadian Forces members are not to be blamed for this oversight," Donaldson said. "We didn't do our homework." The military is now seeking Treasury Board approval for these costs. In addition, the costs for any future next-of-kin visits will be paid out of a non-public fund.
Donaldson stressed Canadian servicemen and women will not see cuts on their paycheques, but acknowledged they will have to wait for future payments until the process is sorted out.
He added he believes it will have a minimal impact on soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan.
"Every effort is being made to rectify this situation," Donaldson said.
So far, no one is facing disciplinary action, he added.
Jay Paxton, a spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter MacKay, said that while the minister's priority is to provide support to military members and their families, the payments must cease until they are approved by the Treasury Board. "The [Canadian Forces] leadership have informed Minister MacKay these payments were made in good faith and that a process has been initiated to rectify the situation quickly and minimize any impact the cessation of payments may have on individual members of the Forces," he said.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 CBC News
Lets encourage DND to do the right thing and bring back these benefits that cost so little in the great scheme of thing and stop penny pinching first the veterans and now the serving members.
Are we entering a new "dark decade'?