Recent Canadian Defence Procurement News

By Dan Middlemiss, 6 June 2022

Notwithstanding Ottawa’s stated intention to focus more on Canadian defence, delivery schedules for several major procurement programs have not been accelerated as a result of current international developments. In response to an Order Paper question from Conservative MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the Department of National Defence said it had “not accelerated the delivery or completion dates of any military-related procurement projects following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” as of 2 March. This was subsequently confirmed by a DND spokesperson.1

Irving Shipbuilding president, Kevin Mooney, recently stated that the Halifax Shipyard remains on schedule to begin construction of Canada’s Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) in two years – provided that the federal government gives it more funding to upgrade its facilities before the end of the current year. Mr. Mooney did not provide details of exactly how much money it is seeking from Ottawa, but did say that the funding is required because the warship design of today is very different from what was originally planned when the company won the competition to build the major warships in Canada.2

Mr. Mooney is credited with saying Irving had originally agreed to upgrade the shipyard at its own cost, seemingly forgetting, once again, that the upgrades were made possible by forgivable loans from the Nova Scotia government plus other tax concessions from the Halifax Regional Municipality. The new funding proposal from Irving is contrary to Irving’s oft-stated contention that the RCN’s warships would be built at the Irving shipyard at no cost to the Crown. As prime contractor for the CSC, Irving Shipbuilding has been well-placed to oversee how the warship design was evolving since it won the CSC competition in 2018. Mooney says the additional federal funding is needed because “Basically it’s a larger ship, it’s a more complex ship.”

The federal government has acknowledged that “discussions” concerning the extra funding are taking place, and that Ottawa is “... monitoring the situation very closely.”3

Notes

1. Neil Moss, “Delivery timelines for vital defence procurements haven’t changed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” The Hill Times, 1 June 2022.

2. The Canadian Press, “Irving says new warships will stay on schedule if federal funding for shipyard upgrades comes,” nationalpost.com, 1 June 2022.

3. The Canadian Press, “Procurement minister defends shipbuilding plan amid challenges,” CTVNews, 2 June 2022.

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