There’s a brief report, by David Puliese, again, in the Ottawa Citizen (it’s nice to have a couple of defence specialists in the media) that says that “Conservative leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Liberal government why it was not moving ahead with having Davie provide a second supply ship – the Obelix – to the navy. Scheer said the navy needed the second ship. “The Prime Minister has to stop playing political games and before Christmas should award that contract to Davie,” he told the Commons. “What’s he waiting for?” … [but, predictably, Prime Minister] … Trudeau accused Scheer of playing “petty politics” … [and then the prime minster said] … “The armed forces did an assessment,” Trudeau explained. “They don’t need the Obelix and for him to suggest that we should buy it anyway is pure base politics, the worst politics. We make our decisions based on facts. We recognize the quality of work done by Davie shipyard and we do want them to get good jobs but we are not going to make up work for political reasons.”“
Well, of course the Trudeau regime is not going to make up things for political reasons … they didn’t make up the “capability gap” out of thin air just to rationalize a backroom deal they had done with Boeing to equip the Royal Canadian Air Force with Super Hornet aircraft without having to go through all the fuss and bother of a competition, did they? But, as I said, “Boeing kicked the props out from under that plan when it launched an ‘unfair trade practices’ action against Bombardier.“
I was still in uniform when the Royal Canadian Navy, in a fully vetted and approved policy paper, said they needed, along with 25± ‘major surface combatants’ (destroyers or frigates) and a few submarines, four replenishment vessels, called AORs (Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment) or, more commonly just tankers.
The justification for four ships was pretty simple:
- Warships are big, complex things ~ a system of systems ~ and they require regular and often lengthy periods “alongside” for maintenance plus, of course, a lot of things can go wrong without much warning causing a ship to be ‘hors de combat‘ so to say; and
- Governments have a habit of being caught by surprise when international crises occur and the first force they usually deploy is the Navy, and the Navy is usually required to send, on pretty short notice, a task group of, say, three or four ships and they need an AOR ~ if you have only one on each coast and it’s “in the shop” (Fleet Maintenance Unit) for repairs that will take some weeks, well …
Previously, the Conservative government said “well, yes, OK, we see that, but there is only enough money for three and the Navy, as it must, said, “Aye aye, Sir” and got along with three. The Chrétien Liberals follow suit and we got along with three for quite a few years, including during Gulf War I in 1990/91, and, based on all that, I’m pretty sure the Navy did tell the Trudeau government that three would do …
So Justin Trudeau is not lying … someone wearing a uniform did say, “Aye aye, Sir! Three is just enough,” but they said it with their fingers crossed behind their backs. He, therefore, does not need to give Davie a contract to refurbish another ship, à la Project Resolve. He’s not lying, but he is misleading parliament and the Canadian people … Canada has three oceans; we need a three ocean Navy and on two of those oceans we need to be able to deploy task groups on relatively short notice. A task group of three or four warships needs an AOR for support and we, therefore, need two AORs on each coast and it would make economic sense to have one of the new AORs that will, sometime, be built by Seaspan in Vancouver and one of the Asterix type. But, of course, Project Resolve was a Conservative initiative and no matter how much good sense it still makes it cannot be allowed to happen on Justin Trudeau’s watch … Canadians need to end his “watch” in 2019, and consign him and his (or Gerald Butts’) version of the Liberals to the political rubbish heap where they belong.