Heading the wrong direction to create new jobs for Canadians......ricklbert.

Ottawa boosts military spending in Alberta



March 15, 2009 12:53 PM
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Bob Weber
THE CANADIAN PRESS


EDMONTON–The federal government will spend about $41 million at three military installations in Alberta to prepare the Canadian Forces for future missions and create civilian jobs, one part of about $400 million in such spending across the country.

"This investment is long overdue," Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in Edmonton on Sunday, before heading to Winnipeg for a similar announcement.

"We're not just investing for the purposes of Afghanistan. This is an overall effort to rebuild and refurbish the Canadian Forces, not just for this mission but for the next and the ones to follow."

The biggest of the three Alberta projects will see new training quarters built at the Edmonton Garrison, home to the largest army base in Western Canada.

Soldiers often travel to Edmonton for specific training courses and now often have to be quartered at hotels in the city, said base commander Lt.-Col. Gary Blenkinsop.

"Edmonton has a larger role for this region in terms of training soldiers, and that means more transient soldiers coming through here."

The new quarters, to house 97 soldiers, will allow all soldiers on training courses to stay on the base and stick together. That makes for more better cohesion in the field, Blenkinsop said.

"When we bring soldiers together, they train better together, they work better together and they fight better together."

Putting soldiers in hotels adds millions of dollars to training costs, said Blenkinsop, who called the quarters "essential."

"It's an absolute requirement. We could use a couple more of them."

MacKay also announced an upgrade to water treatment facilities for CFB Wainwright, southeast of Edmonton. That facility also serves the rapidly growing town of Wainwright.

The spending will also a new refuelling system at 4 Wing in Cold Lake, the busiest fighter base in Canada.

All together, MacKay said the projects are expected to create 220 jobs over the next two years. He said the spending is from the military budget and not part of the government's overall economic stimulus package.

He is expected to make another funding announcement later Sunday at 4 Wing in Winnipeg. Similar announcements are expected Monday in Fredericton at CFB Gagetown and in CFB Halifax on Tuesday.

Last week, MacKay was in Esquimalt, B.C., home of the Pacific Naval Fleet, to announce four military-linked projects worth $266 million that are projected to create 1,400 jobs.

Those projects are already underway, he said.