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Canada  

Military pinching pennies

Senior defence officials have ordered a curb on non-essential activities across the department, The Canadian Press has learned, as they look to free up millions of dollars for military operations and other more critical tasks.

The result has been a severe cut to activities not directly related to missions or military readiness, including travel and non-mission training, as the department limps to the end of the federal fiscal year on March 31.

The cost-cutting is in addition to the military having already parked large numbers of trucks and support vehicles, docked naval vessels and cut back on flying times for aircraft because of financial pressures.

While the department won't say how much money officials are looking to save, spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier said it is "likely" to be less than one per cent of the overall defence budget.

With a combined operating and capital budget of $19.2 billion in this fiscal year, that would amount to around $190 million.

"We need to remain within the spending authorized by Parliament," Le Bouthillier said in an email.

"To do this, we asked that our organizations identify discretionary spending on activities that don't impact military operations or the department's core business."

Canada has more military personnel deployed abroad now than at any point since Afghanistan, and would surpass Afghanistan if the Liberals pull the trigger on a new peacekeeping mission in Africa.



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