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Canadian military equipment crumbling, enrollment slumping: auditor general

Canada's military must improve maintenance of its planes, ships and armoured vehicles, the auditor general warns.
Canada's military must improve maintenance of its planes, ships and armoured vehicles, the auditor general warns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, DND-MND

OTTAWA – The federal auditor general is urging the Department of National Defence to clean up its recruiting system as well as the way it maintains and supports critical hardware, such as planes, ships and armoured vehicles.

Michael Ferguson says failing to do so will hamstring Canada’s military over the long term, leaving it hard pressed to meet the country’s needs both here and abroad.

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In his latest series of reports, the federal watchdog paints a picture of a recruiting system simultaneously rife with red tape and cut to the bone by the previous Conservative government.

WATCH: Minister Sajjan decries state of CF-18 fleet under previous government 
Click to play video: 'Minister Sajjan decries state of CF-18 fleet under previous government' Minister Sajjan decries state of CF-18 fleet under previous government
Minister Sajjan decries state of CF-18 fleet under previous government – Nov 22, 2016

The result is a shrinking number of military personnel as more people have left the Canadian Forces than joined up in recent years, which has put additional strain on those remaining in uniform.

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The auditor general says defence officials have also consistently underestimated the cost of maintaining military equipment, and signed bad maintenance and support contracts with outside companies.

That poor planning has cost hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted taxpayer dollars, made equipment less available for training and operations, and hurt National Defence’s long-term financial flexibility.

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