I’m writing to respond to recent letters to the editor regarding possible job losses at Area Support Unit (ASU) Chilliwack.
First, and most importantly, I have been assured by Minister of National Defence, Peter Mackay, that the Canadian Forces will continue to maintain a permanent presence in Chilliwack at the current location as some personnel transition elsewhere to meet emerging needs. After a decade of high tempo operations in Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces need to find efficiencies in their domestic operations now that the combat mission is over, and our training mission winds down over the next two years. As a result, the administrative functions that are handled by the ASU in Chilliwack will be consolidated in other centres.
While this is a difficult situation for those affected, our government received a strong mandate to return to a balanced budget in the medium term and we are delivering on that commitment by finding necessary efficiencies in government spending across all government departments and agencies, including the Canadian Forces.
I have been advised that no decisions have been made as to how many positions will be affected at the ASU at this time. Those receiving affected letters are not necessarily losing their jobs. All efforts will be made to ensure any job reductions are attained through attrition.
Finally, I have heard numerous concerns from your readers who believe that I am purchasing the full colour, full page ads regarding the ASU that are running in the local papers. Readers can rest assured that these ads are part of campaign funded by the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and that I have nothing to do with them.
Mark Strahl, MP