Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

G1448 BC-Afghan-Cda-Cost 1stWritethru 4618 01-11 0880

  • Print

OTTAWA -- The cost of ending Canada's war in Kandahar, bringing home all the military's equipment and reconditioning it, is expected to top $651 million, according to figures and projections compiled by National Defence.

The Harper government has yet to deliver a final tally for the mission close-out costs, but a complete set of numbers could come with the release of a National Defence report to Parliament within weeks.

Packing up thousands of weapons, ammunition and hundreds of vehicles, including tanks and helicopters, was the biggest logistics operation for the military since the end of the Korean War in the early 1950s.

And the eye-popping estimate is only an incremental figure, the cost the federal government says it has paid over and above the routine expense of soldiers' salaries and support.

The full cost, when so-called routine expenses are considered, is roughly $924 million.

The numbers are being spread out over three budget years, according to documents obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information.

Approximately $21 million of the total was carved out of the 2010-11 federal budget, says a briefing note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay. The rest was split up between last year's budget and projected for the current year.

What remains unclear from the internal documents and from an email response by National Defence is how much of the price tag was driven by the diplomatic meltdown with the United Arab Emirates in late 2010. That disagreement saw Canada ejected from its main staging base in the Middle East as the withdrawal was kicking into gear.

The Harper government was forced to move the military out of Camp Mirage, near Dubai, but eventually signed an arrangement with Kuwait to establish a replacement logistics hub in that country.

The new base was not declared operational until Sept. 22, three months after the withdrawal was underway.

Both opposition defence critics say the Harper government paid a steep price for the spat with the Emirates and must own up to the cost.

"The cost was obviously significantly greater as a result of this failure to handle the diplomatic side of it properly, and getting our backs up and deciding we either weren't going to co-operate or compromise," said New Democrat MP Jack Harris.

Liberal MP John McKay said he's been asking for a detailed cost breakdown and projections for year, but the government has been stonewalling.

It's part of the larger issue of budget transparency, which the parliamentary budget officer has taken up with court action over the refusal of some departments to hand over information, he said.

"These guys do credit to (Russian President) Vladimir Putin," McKay said. "There is a scale of secrecy on budget matters that is unprecedented."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 2, 2012 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Standup- Morning Fog. Horse prances in field by McPhillips Road, north of Winnipeg. 060605.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google