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Royal Canadian Navy scandal kept under wraps with help of MSM

A somewhat recent Maclean's magazine article (Canada's Time, except, amazingly, more left wing) was headlined: The (Canadian Vice Admiral) Mark Norman firing mystery.

Then goes on to provide absolutely no analysis whatsoever regarding the mystery, other than putting it down to Canadian defence bureaucracy. There's some hard hitting news from Canada's newsmagazine, about the largest scandal to hit Canadian politics since... well ever, nothing comes close, the Sponsorship Scandal pales in comparison to the the ongoing Navy shipbuilding scandal. With the exception that the media this time won't touch it.

Another article earlier this year from Canada's national broadcaster, the CBC, written by senior defence reporter, Murray Brewster, mentioned the vice admiral's removal, then did the bait and switch to the pervious Conservative government's purchase of sea sparrow missiles. That story was a non-scandal scandal the leftist media has tried to promote, criticizing the so-called sole source purchase of the Navy's new anti-ship missiles, except they're only built by Raytheon, so who else were they supposed to buy them from (we're they expecting cheap Chinese knockoffs for Canada's defence?) This piece, I remind you, was written by a man with supposedly 15 years of defence industry analysis experience, yet no peep on the slow motion RCN warship disaster.

In 2010 the then Conservative led government announced the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which was to provide much needed ships for RCN and the Coast Guard, as well as revitalize Canada's shipbuilding industry. Well, Canada's shipbuilding industry hasn't been vital since the 1960s, and those of us who lived in British Columbia in the 1990s, still remember the then socialist NDP government trying to do exactly the same thing (albeit on a much smaller scale) when they wasted $500 million on so-called fast ferries that didn't work. The NSS is that same strategy x1000 (goes to show governments of all stripes are lousy at job creation).

Just as B.C could have bought ferries for a fraction of the cost of trying (and failing) to build them domestically, the Canadian  federal government could have sourced state-of-the-art ships in Europe, had them built in Asia, and saved tax-payers billions, with the added benefit of actually providing the RCN with ships.

Granted a couple of hundred ship-wrights in Halifax would be out of jobs, but $26 billion (and counting) for 200 jobs is nonsensical math even for Canada's left-wing mandarins.They could all be given a $1 million and we'd still be ahead buying the ships from a European supplier.

Canada is not known for it's proficiency in military procurements, the general policy seems to be delay equipment purchases for years, if not decades in order to save money, then pay ten times the amount when the situation is so dire the procurement has to be made.

The replacement program for the Sea King helicopters is now into its 3rd decade, it took twenty years for the government to finally decide on search and rescue planes to replace the 60 + years old Buffalos. Part of the NSS was to be two replenishment ships, already a decade overdue when the project was announced, and now so far overdue the government had to turn to another shipyard for an interim commercial replacement, predictably, that project is overdue as well. The Single Surface Combatant Ship (SSCS)was another part of the program, which would replace four destroyers and 12 frigates, 15 ships were planned, but with cost overruns to date (with steel cutting at least a decade away) that has been reduced to 10-11 ships.

So military bureaucracy and government incompetence, what's new? You may ask, and shrug, 'where's the scandal?' Where things take the turn from incompetence to larceny begins with the structure of the contract to build the ships awarded to Irving Shipyards. They are guaranteed $3 billion in profit, whether they deliver 15 or six ships. There is no timeline, no standards to be met. The only stipulation from the Canadian government was the ship had to be an off the shelf, proven design. But Irving couldn't even be bothered to abide by that stipulation, and allowed BAE's Type 26 frigate to be submitted as a design.

For those of you unfamiliar with the history of the Type 26, it is supposed to be the replacement frigate for the U.K.'s long in the tooth Type 23s. However it is years behind schedule, and billions over budget, just what the RCN needs, a massively expensive ship that may or may not work (20+ years from now...maybe).

Irving has already gone with BAE as the supplier for the SSCS's systems, suggesting to other bidders the process is a fait accompli for BAE. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri suggested as much to Public Works Minister, Judy Foote, and suggested perhaps the Canadian government should create performance based specs and guidelines for the bidders to follow. Her response, in case there was any doubt left who this project was really benefitting, was that Fincantieri should talk to Irving Shipyards about their proposal.

You might think that a billionaire family, set to make many billions more on the backs of the Canadian taxpayer, would be news in Canada. But as noted above, news media, whether it's the CBC or so-called independents like Rebel Media, have no interest in the topic.


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