Worst procurement in Canadian history

A major new report released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calls on the Canadian government to fix the long-running maritime helicopter procurement fiasco.

“The worst procurement in the history of Canada”: Solving the maritime helicopter crisis was written by University of British Columbia political science professor (and Rideau Institute board member) Michael Byers and Stewart Webb, Visiting Research Fellow at the Rideau Institute and Research Associate at the Salt Spring Forum.

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the entry into service of Canada’s Sea King helicopters, which despite their age and associated risks are still being relied upon by the Canadian Forces.

Twenty years have passed since Prime Minister Jean Chrétien cancelled the contract for EH-101s that were supposed to replace the Sea Kings. Ten years have passed since the Paul Martin government signed a contract for the CH-148 Cyclones with Sikorsky –- and not a single fully operational Cyclone has been delivered to date.

The authors make three recommendations:

  • That the government provide full transparency on the Maritime Helicopter Project;
  • That the government get tough with Sikorsky regarding the overdue and over-budget CH-148 Cyclone by actually imposing the late penalties, and refusing further top-up funding; and
  • That the government commence an accelerated review of off-the-shelf alternatives without further delay, so as to be in a position to negotiate a new contract with another supplier in the event of a continued failure by Sikorsky to fulfill its obligations.

The authors want to see this crisis resolved quickly, setting politics aside, to ensure that our men and women in uniform are properly equipped with the right tools.

“The latest attempt to replace the Sea Kings has become mired in delays and setbacks,” said Stewart Webb. “The government should urgently re-consider its options for replacing these aged and unsafe aircraft.”

“The worst procurement in the history of Canada”: Solving the maritime helicopter crisis is available on the Rideau Institute website.

Photo credit: DND

Tags: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canadian military spending, Cyclone, EH-101, Helicopters, Michael Byers, Military procurement, Rideau Institute, Sea King, Stewart Webb