Ottawa, ON — James Bezan, Conservative Shadow Minister for National Defence, issued the following statement after the release of the Liberals’ Defence Policy Update:

“After eight years of Trudeau, his photo-op announcements are just new promises to break, and they don’t make up for his years of neglect that has left our military gutted and in a state of disrepair. Today’s announcement comes nowhere close to resolving the crisis in our military after Trudeau’s decade of darkness.

“The Liberals’ first defence policy document Strong, Secured, Engaged was a book of empty promises. They missed every marker set out in the original defence policy for defence spending, resulting in massive gaps in equipment and readiness. Trudeau has overspent in every department except our military, yet his government promised to cut almost $1 billion annually from the defence budget and allowed over $10 billion more to lapse over eight years.

“Under Trudeau, only 58% of our forces stand ready to deploy and we are short almost 16,000 troops this year with a further 10,000 troops who are undertrained and undeployable. Our warships are rusting out, our fighter jets are worn out, our army has been hollowed out and entire air squadrons are being shut down because they don’t have enough personnel. Our submarines are barely in the water and our warships are aging faster than expected and the Liberals’ plan to replace them is still years away.

“Trudeau is once again kicking the can down the road by committing most of the defence spending in today’s announcement until after the next election. Instead of ‘exploring options’, the brave women and men in the Canadian Armed Forces need new kit, better training and investments in their futures today, not 20 years from now.

“Only a Common Sense Conservative government will always stand with our troops. We will restore our proud military and ensure they have the equipment and resources they need to do their job to protect Canada and defend our freedoms.”