Investing in our ocean infrastructure

I am pleased to see such a lively and informed discussion on Shipbuilding in Canada. As our government considers the many different paths available for stimulating the economy, I am hoping that our shipbuilding sector is not overlooked. There are strong economic arguments to be made in support of a National Shipbuilding Plan, in addition to the strategic imperative of maintaining an indigenous shipbuilding and ship repair capability.

Among the many infrastructure projects that our government could invest in, shipbuilding presents one of the best prospects for providing quality jobs and long-term economic benefit. Investing in new bridges and roadways (while important) will not create meaningful long-term careers for the skilled workers displaced by the marked decline in our manufacturing sector. Many of the jobs created here would be ‘make work’ jobs that would not provide long-term benefits or position Canada to compete in an evolving global economy.

For decades, we have seen a sad decline in our ocean infrastructure - our navy and coast guard ships, our ports, and our oceanographic and marine institutions - all of those things which enable us to effectively benefit from our vast ocean domain. Yet we now have the opportunity to build something positive from these decades of neglect. Renewing and maintaining our government fleets will directly provide quality jobs in a host of engineering and skilled trades. It will also generate large economic spin-offs that will ripple through the economy and create jobs elsewhere. It will fuel the innovation necessary to develop and exploit the niche roles our industry can fill in the global economy, and finally, it will allow us to keep our oceans open for business. Trade, oil and gas, fisheries and aquaculture, tourism and recreation are all dependent on our government fleets.

The Navy League of Canada recently submitted a proposal to Parliament on a National Shipbuilding Plan, specifically asking for an additional 4.5 billion dollars over 5 years to complete the 3 major procurements currently on the books (Joint Support Ship, Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship and Coast Guard Mid-shore patrol vessel). To see a copy of the letter, and to review the proposal, please visit: