A National Post article on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004, raised concerns about the future of 17 Wing. The following is a portion of that article:
Canada’s army, navy and air force are facing a funding shortfall of up to half a billion dollars, defence sources told the National Post, and the military is recommending drastic measures to make up the difference, including closing some of the largest bases in the country.
The federal government is stalling the release of internal documents that outline the looming financial crisis, but military sources said the reports indicate that … unless additional funding is awarded by the federal government, the air force is suggesting closing bases at Goose Bay, Nfld., Bagotville, Que., and Winnipeg.
Excluding the three levels of governments, 17 Wing is currently the fourth largest employer in the City of Winnipeg.
17 Wing employs approximately 4,400 people in the greater Winnipeg region, broken down as follows:
· Regular Forces – 2,462
· Reserves – 1,093
· Civilians – 816
When immediate families of the members are included, 17 Wing accounts for 8,000 to 10,000 people in the greater Winnipeg region.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Recommendations:
- Be proactive in ensuring that 17 Wing remains in Winnipeg and look at ways it can be expanded because it is too important to the City to lose.
- Continue to encourage future growth in the aerospace industry through links with the Air Force, which already has a huge economic impact on Winnipeg.
- Work closely with all key stakeholders to raise public awareness of the importance of the military to Winnipeg’s economy and the devastating impact the closure of 17 Wing would have.
Adopted by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce board of directors, September 2004