It’s no secret, I hope, that I remain in favour of Project Resolve, the deal which delivered the MV Asterix to the Canadian Navy on time and on budget, and I have said before that I believe that our Navy needs four of these large supply/support ships, including a second ship, a sister to Asterix, which Davie is ready to convert.
David Pugliese, writing in the National Post, now says that Chantier Davie, the giant Quebec City shipyard, “is offering the Liberal government a second supply ship at a reduced price as it warns about further delays on a similar vessel being built for the Royal Canadian Navy by a firm on the West Coast … [but, he notes] … industry representatives privately say Davie faces an uphill battle as Asterix is at the heart of the trial of Vice Admiral Mark Norman and any government move to buy a sister ship would signal the actions of that naval officer in supporting the original deal was right.“
He also reports that “Naresh Raghubeer, a senior adviser to Davie, said the Asterix sister ship — Obelix — can be ready for missions with the navy within 24 months. “We’ve proven already we can do it,” he added.“
Of course Davie can do the job; they were, for many, many years, a really badly managed company and that’s why there were left off the short list when the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy was conceived … but new, foreign ownership set things right and now they are producing good ships; made-in-Canada ships that Canada needs.
But I agree that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not be enticed; he doesn’t even mind layoffs in a Conservative riding … maybe, he hopes the workers will think, to themselves, “maybe if we change our votes then we can also get our jobs back.”
Mr Pugliese also reports that the first of the two big, fully military support ships being built on the West Coast “was supposed to be delivered by Seaspan in 2017. That schedule slipped and the 2019 and 2020 delivery dates were proposed. The latest delivery date for the first of two ships is now 2022-2023 but with the caveat attached “ with risk”, meaning that it could fall further behind schedule, government officials confirmed to Postmedia.” That will not matter to Team Trudeau, either.
Davie Pugliese concludes by writing that “The Davie yard represents 50 per cent of Canada’s shipbuilding capability. Currently the firm has 200 employees, down from the 1,400 working in 2017 when Asterix was delivered … [and] … Both the Commons defence committee and the Senate defence committee recommended acquiring a second supply ship from Davie … [but] … Davie’s rival, Irving Shipbuilding, has voiced opposition to the Quebec company receiving any additional federal shipbuilding contracts.“