Report claims that Canadian military will start charging for disaster relief

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics
A bird's-eye view shows flood damage at Twin Lakes Beach, along the south shore of Lake Manitoba, in early June 2011.

'No more freebies.'

It appears, that's the message from our military to the various levels of government across Canada.

According to documents obtained by PostMedia News, the Canadian Forces will start charging provinces and municipalities to cover the costs of participating in domestic disaster relief efforts.

"Military officials say federal budget cuts are to blame for the move, which ends a 15-year practice of waiving efforts to recover such costs and could force communities and provinces to think twice before calling the Canadian Forces for help."

Going forward, the waiving of such costs must be the exception, rather than the rule," reads a note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay this past July."

The Canadian Forces has been active in domestic disaster relief operations across the country. In 2011, according to the National Defence website, the Forces operated "in 4 provinces in support of relief efforts in the wake of three floods, one hurricane and multiple forest fires."

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One of the most famous incidences of a Canadian Forces effort was in 1999, when four hundred soldiers, backed by armoured vehicles, descended upon Toronto to help the city deal with a massive snow storm.

Ultimately, this new policy is an example of Feds downloading costs onto lower levels of government.

So now if the Manitoba government calls the Canadians Forces for help during a flood, Manitobans will pay the whole bill and won't get any help from Ontario or Alberta taxpayers.

I guess that means it's every province and/or municipality for itself.