Some good news from both the West and East coast shipyards for both the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard:
- First, from Seaspan, on the West Coast, a photo update (June, July, August and September) on the construction of the first of three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSV #1) which will be named the Sir John Franklin. It is interesting to note that this project (and the actual construction) started under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government; and
- Second, from Irving, in Halifax, a timelapse video, showing the construction progress (January to September 2016) of the HMCS Harry de Wolfe. This project, too, was begun by Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative government.
Both announcements are good news for Canada. Our maritime (and air) fleets are in serious need of replacement, soon, and I am very pleased that Prime Minister Harper set Canada on a path to rebuild and sustain our shipbuilding industry and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has, this far, kept the work going.
But, I have a worry.
My worry is twofold:
- Prime Minister Harper did not allocate anywhere near enough money to build what the RCN and the coast Guard need. Back circa 2010 the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy was funded at about $30 billion. I have seen/read estimates, from credible sources, that say that $50 billion should have been allocated and that needs, then to take account of inflation; and
- Neither national defence nor the Coast Guard seem to be priorities for Prime Minister Trudeau so I wonder if he will listen to voices that say that each service needs large, new, sophisticated fleets.
The rebuilding of our shipyards was and remains an important national priority, but they need to be kept busy, building ships for the government until their newly rebuilt capacities and capabilities result in new orders from civilians and foreign governments. Oddly enough, we, Conservatives, need to support both Big Business and Big Labour, both traditional friends of the Liberals, in pressing the Trudeau regime to build more and more and more ships ~ costing more and more and more money, which must be found without raising taxes ~ to keep Canadians at work in Canadian shipyards.