Mr. Speaker, we will use whatever time we have left. Today, we have heard all sorts of things, and sometimes some unwarranted assertions.
I would just like to state a few facts. I believe that the government has supported National Defence very well in the past few years. Let me give an example or two.
In terms of funding, in recent years, additional funds were earmarked for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. We are talking about $3.9 billion in additional funding included in the budgets for 1999-2000 and more than $1.2 billion in the last budget. This means that, for the period from 2001-02 to 2006-07, the government will have increased the defence budget by $5.1 billion. This is undeniably a significant investment.
And regarding the quality of life, we are aware that an army is only as strong as the morale of its troops. This is why the government has taken numerous initiatives to improve the conditions of service in the Canadian Forces and ensure a better quality of life for our servicemen and women and their families.
Canadian Forces members have been awarded pay increases and action has been taken on their housing problems. In addition, the government has introduced special benefits, particularly enhanced maternity and parental benefits.
Amendments to the Pension Act have provided immediate assistance to some 1,200 members of the Canadian Forces with permanent disabilities connected to their military service.
As well, the Canadian Forces have also made it possible for deployed personnel to maintain contact with their families by e-mail. Employment assistance programs have been set up for spouses, whose careers often suffer from frequent transfers. A post living differential allowance was instituted for military personnel transferred to certain areas of Canada where the cost of living is higher. As well, family resource centres have been set up across the country for military families.
A major initiative is under way to improve health care for members of the Canadian Forces. It focuses on a broad range of standard health services, environmental medicine and industrial medicine, and health promotion both in Canada and elsewhere.
Now regarding modernization, the government is committed to maintaining multi-purpose, combat-capable forces that can perform the complex and varied tasks expected of them, be it to ensure the safety of Canadians, to protect the North American continent, or to promote international peace and security.
In recent years, the government has shown its commitment by taking a series of initiatives to modernize the Canadian Forces. Thanks to these initiatives, the Canadian Forces are now better equipped than ten years ago.
The navy is in the process of replacing three of its Oberon class submarines from the 1960s with four Victoria class submarines, which will be capable of performing more complex operations than the Oberon class ones, while requiring smaller crews and less maintenance. The new subs will significantly increase the capabilities of the Canadian navy.
With respect to the army, efforts focussed mainly on equipment that is more mobile and easier to deploy, such as the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle, which is fast and easy to drive, and the LAV III armoured personnel carrier—