Future of Canada’s subs in doubt

A new report on the future of Canada’s submarine program has just been released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

That Sinking Feeling: Canada’s Submarine Program Springs a Leak was written by University of British Columbia political science professor Michael Byers and defence analyst Stewart Webb (a visiting research fellow at the Rideau Institute and research associate at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.)

Canada bought its second-hand Victoria-class submarine fleet from Britain in 1998 for a greatly discounted price. Unfortunately, the four submarines have been plagued by mechanical problems ever since and have spent most of their service life being refitted and repaired.

The Royal Canadian Navy projects the submarines will reach the end of their life cycle by 2030. The plague of serious mechanical problems suggests an even earlier date.

However, the replacement of Canada’s submarines was not included in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy – a strategy that sets out construction timelines to 2041. This omission raises significant questions concerning the government’s intentions for the future of Canada’s submarine program.

The report finds three possible reasons why submarines were omitted from the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy:

  • A still-secret decision has been made to acquire new submarines to replace the Victoria-class;
  • A still-secret decision has been made to terminate Canada’s submarine program when the Victoria-class submarines reach the end of their service lives;
  • The Harper government is mismanaging the submarine program and failing to make a plan for its future, or a transition to other platforms and technologies.

That Sinking Feeling: Canada’s Submarine Program Springs a Leakis available on the Rideau Institute website.

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