June 22, 2022
Taxpayers are being asked to give at least $300 million more to the Irving Shipyard so they can “modernize” their shipyard in order to fulfill the original $26 billion contract which has now spiralled to $77 billion and may be even more.
The federal government awarded this contract to them in 2011 and Irving’s vice president of communications said, “the Halifax shipyard was on schedule to cut steel on the first surface combatant in 2024.” Thirteen years after being awarded the contract certainly raises a whole host of questions in my mind.
Irving’s vice president of communications, Mary Keith, also said, “As is typical in any shipyard, transitioning to a larger and more complex ship, (Irving Shipbuilding) has developed plans to optimize core, schedule, and quality.” Now I have even more questions about the entire process.
When I read David Pugliese’s article a little further I was astounded to find out that other countries that had looked at the same design (Type 6) that Canada plans to build are too slow and have been deemed unsafe.
When another country’s engineering team assessment of that country’s frigate procurement highlighted concerns about the untested “immature ship design” that should have raised red flags with every one of those “experts” and financial advisors about this issue.
Extensive aqua dynamics modelling as well as all the other complex variables in such a gigantic expense as this should have been done and confirmed even prior to submission of tenders so why are we hearing about these issues now?
Taking the cost of living into consideration is one thing but this whole scenario brings into question the philosophy and spending about war machines when there are so many more critical issues that desperately need to be addressed.
When I think of the need to patrol and protect Canada’s sovereignty, I think of the ships that we don’t have as well as the ships we do need to be built. Canada’s arctic is one of the most critical and difficult to access yet we do not have the icebreakers needed to do this region justice.
Russia has the largest icebreaking fleet in the world, numbering over 40 total, with three more under construction and a dozen planned in the next decade. The U.S. does not have any icebreakers patrolling the Arctic so it must rely on other countries – including Russia – to fulfill its icebreaking needs. The Russian ice breaking fleet has six nuclear-powered icebreakers: Taymyr, Vaygash, 50 Let Pobedy, Yamal, Arktika, and Sibir. It also has the nuclear-powered cargo ship Sevmorput, which belongs to Rosatomflot’s fleet based in Murmansk.
Canada’s Coast Guard currently has 18 icebreakers of varying sizes and capability, which is the second largest icebreaking fleet in the world, but it has no nuclear powered ice-breakers capable of the Russian ones. The largest Canadian icebreaker is the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which will continue to operate through the next decade.