Common ground
Eggleton finds common concerns among troops in the North

Darren Campbell
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 02/98) - Art Eggleton says the concerns of the Canadian Armed Forces staff in the North are much the same as elsewhere in Canada.

The Minister of National Defence was in Yellowknife on Monday to tour the Canadian Forces Northern Area Headquarters and meet the Forces' members and families.

What he heard, he notes, is all too familiar. Canadian Forces members and their families are worried about improved pay and benefits and affordable housing.

"Pay and benefits and housing," said Eggleton. "Those were the issues that were front and centre."

Eggleton said he hopes these concerns will be addressed when the report from the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veteran Affairs is tabled in the House of Commons later this month.

"Hopefully what is in the report will make a significant improvement in the quality of life of our personnel," said Eggleton.

Col. Pierre Leblanc, commander of the Canadian Forces Northern Area, says the high cost of housing in the North is a big issue for the members under his command.

"Many of our members have low salaries. So when housing is expensive and you have a low salary, it produces dissatisfaction with our troops."

This was the second time in August that a high ranking official of the Canadian Forces has visited the North. The Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Maurice Baril was also in town on Aug. 4.

During Eggleton's Northern tour, he will also visit Cambridge Bay, Iqaluit, Pangnirtung, and Alert.

Eggleton has been touring Canadian bases and stations all over the country to get familiar with what is being done and what the troops' concerns are.

"If I didn't come up here people would say, 'Why are you ignoring us?"