This government has never stopped thumping its chest over how strongly it supports the military; and has never stopped beating the opposition parties over the head (with pretty good reason) for their disinterest, to be kind, in the military.
Now some facts. This government has been in office for well over six years, longer than Canada’s participation in World War II. It did purchase urgently required equipments for the Army’s Afghanistan combat mission, e.g. howitzers, tanks and armoured vehicles. Note that those equipments are quite cheap compared to major Air Force and Navy ones. It also bought six used US Army CH-47D helicopters for the Air Force’s use in Afghanistan, now gone. And it did lease Heron UAVs for the mission, now gone too.
In reality the government have made only two other major procurements now in service: the RCAF’s C-17 and C-130J transports. These were sole-sourced–rightly in my view–early on and the contracts were negotiated fairly expeditiously, especially for the C-17s. CH-47F Chinook helicopters were also sole-sourced fairly early on–again quite rightly–but the contract negotiations dragged on for three years and no choppers have yet been delivered (the first is expected in 2013).
Otherwise: zip, zilch, nichts, nada, ništa, rien de flipping tout.. No fixed-wing SAR aircraft; no U(C)AVs; no new Maritime Helicopter in service (previous Liberal governments have a lot to answer for on that one also); no contracts for new RCN ships; no contract for the Army’s Close Combat Vehicle; and a botched Army truck (!?!) order. I may have omitted something.
Great work, people. Politicians, bureaucrats and CF members. Gory details:
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger
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