The $26 billion procurement project began under the Tory government has continued apace under Trudeau's Liberals, by apace I mean, delay after delay and rising costs.
In mid 2016 Irving Shipyards and the government were admitting under the current budget only 10-11 ships would be produced (which means by 2025 when they begin construction, we'd be looking at maybe eight ships). Now talk is back to 'up to 15 ships' and the number $40 billion has been thrown out, although there have been no official budget announcements on that.
However, no matter how few ships are built, to what timeline, or to what performance standards, the Irving family is guarantee $3 billion in profit.
If the Arctic Patrol Ship project is any indicator, the ships produced will be copies of an existing design, although less capable than the original and ten times more expensive.
Actually the government has made one stipulation, the warships must be an off the shelf, existing, proven design. So what did Irving Shipyards do, they invited BAE to bid, with their as yet unbuilt, and hugely expensive Type 26 frigate. Faced with Irving's decision, Minister of Public Works Judy Foote effectively shrugged, and went, 'what are ya gonna do.'
Irving Shipyards is already working with BAE, so I think it's safe to assume there's going to be a bid process, and then BAE will be chosen. The Type 26 has almost 3000 tonnes more displacement and is twenty feet longer than the Navy's current Halifax frigates. It's big, expensive and likely difficult to maintain.
Italian builder Fincantieri, who has built ships for New Zealand's navy (among others) has pulled out of the biding process. But not before recommending to Foote that perhaps the bid should be altered, with a fixed price competition (they way every other country in the world does it) that has the winning company building the first three ships to Canadian specs, and then handed off to Irving for the remaining 12. Foote's answer was they should ask Irving for approval before the government could make any decision on that. Making it abundantly clear that it is Irving Shipyards running this $26-$40 billion taxpayer funded program. The bid is designed by them, and decided by them, the government just writes the cheques.