Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (II)

Sirs: The modern day Canadian Navy has no experience in Canadian Artic waters and has not operated an icebreaker in almost a half century. Furthermore if you think a gun boat will solve your problems you are mistaken. You should analyse the reasons other countries have naval vessel vessels on patrol in ice infested waters. Maybe it is because it is their job? Maybe gun boat diplomacy is not the reason to be there?

In 1958 the Canadian Navy had one ice breaking vessel HMCS Labrador. The Canadian Navy loaned the vessel to the Canadian Coast Guard because they could see no reason to have such a vessel. Furthermore the Coast Guard had similar capable vessels engaged in ice breaking in support of northern supply. If you don't know how, ice breaking is a brutal business where damaged hulls and propulsion equipment are not uncommon. Sleekness and high speed are not on the necessary list of design features of an ice breaker.

In the not so distant past the Government of Canada (Fisheries and Oceans) has had armed patrol vessels with unionized crews in service within the economic zone of Canada. So there must be a solution to arming Coast Guard vessels as this was done successfully with other government vessels with crews within the same union as those in the Coast Guard today. I am not opposed to having a navy gun crew onboard a Coast Guard vessel however I don't see the logic of your reasoning. Someone has to say "shoot" and in my experience that decision will be made in Ottawa. I believe that other nations have a similar protocol. In any case the gun crew would be bored to death on Artic operations.

One cannot help but ask where is our air power? How are we conducting surveillance? How are our littoral waters protected when there was not one Canadian naval vessel at sea on the east coast for a period of time this winter because of a budget short fall mainly related to expenditures in Afghanistan?

We have basic problems, which should be resolved prior to the build of armed icebreakers.