Steven Staples of the Rideau Institute was a guest on CBC Radio’s the current on Friday, February 24th. He joined Ken Hansen, a resident research fellow with the DND-funded Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University, and Rob Huebert, associate director of the DND-funded Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, for a discussion of the future of submarines in the Canadian navy.
Both Staples and Huebert insisted that Canada needs to hold a public debate about what Canada wants from its navy in the future, especially considering the current economic climate.
Huebert argued that Canada should retain its submarine fleet to defend Canada’s maritime trade and to serve as as deterrent against future threats. Staples countered that the submarines are a “luxury capability” that provide little value for money (“The future of submarines in Canada’s navy,” the current, 24 February 2012):
We don’t have to adopt other people’s attitudes; we have to define what Canada wants to do, what are our needs, what’s the best capability for that. Certainly Canadians don’t want to get involved in some kind of Cold War style arms race with the Russians and the Chinese. They want to do things like Haiti. They like the fact that the Canadian navy was able to respond to places like Haiti. You can’t deliver aid in a submarine and there is only so many dollars to go around. I think we really need to focus on other capabilities and say this was something that we needed during the Cold War that has gone into the past. Let’s focus on the future.
You can listen to an audio recording of the episode here.