Footwear for soldiers: Local input contributed to defense policy change

To the Editor:

Earlier this summer, the Department of National Defence (DND) announced important changes to how the footwear of soldiers is provided. Although boots are provided for personnel, they military has faced footwear shortages for years. As a result, many soldiers were forced to buy boots form companies in the private sector and were not reimbursed for the expense.

This new policy is good news for the men and women of our armed forces. The procurement process for footwear has been streamlined – and more importantly – it was not done at the expense of our soldiers.

The new DND policy will solve this problem by providing up to $340 a year to personnel entitled to receive footwear funding. The new policy contains guidelines based on job requirements that determine whether boots might be needed on a yearly basis or less often. Additionally, the DND will assemble a list of acceptable boot manufacturers that will make it easier for soldiers to find proper footwear.

I am also pleased that this change came out of the practical policy suggestions put forward at a series of defence policy roundtables I hosted in legions across our riding in 2016. Many topics were discussed, among them: prioritizing defence needs, identifying ways to improve combat readiness, and streamlining defence procurement. Following the roundtables, I shared the recommendations with our Shadow Secretary for Defence MP James Bezan, who consolidated this information into a national report provided to the federal government.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the roundtables. I am humbled by the thought that contributions from my constituents have positively impacted the lives of our men and women in uniform. Your ideas made a difference!

Arnold Viersen
MP for Peace River – Westlock

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