CFB Gander likely to escape search and rescue cuts

The Canadian Forces base in Gander, N.L., will face cuts due to measures announced in the federal budget, but search and rescue services in Gander are expected to be spared.

Fewer reservists will be hired

The Canadian military operates three Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters like this one from a base near Gander, N.L.

The Canadian Forces base in central Newfoundland is facing cuts as the federal military absorbs one-fifth of all reductions announced in this year's federal budget, but top officials in Gander said search and rescue services shouldn't be affected.

"We don't see our capability to deliver search and rescue being affected," said acting base commander Maj. Luc Girard.

Three military Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters are based in Gander.

Full-time reservists, with many having served in Afghanistan, do a lot of the work at the base in central Newfoundland.

"What we do know will be affected is our reserve personnel. Our budgets are going to be constrained," said Girard.

He said that means the base won't be able to hire as many full-time reservists as it has in the past.

Girard said that's damaging morale, but he said it may take a while to know the full impact of the cuts.

In the federal budget, delivered by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at the end of last month, the biggest cuts in dollar terms were made to the Department of National Defence, at $1.1 billion over three years.