Monday, May 30, 2005

Another feather for Chretien's cap

Babble on.

It's days like today that I want to invent a time machine that will transport me back to 1993 so I can slap Jean Chretien and his star-chamber advisors silly.

The troublesome Sea King helicopter has apparently hit a new low.

In a high-seas operation earlier this year, the chopper aboard HMCS Ville de Quebec was available only about one day in every five because of frequent malfunctions. It's believed to be the worst-ever performance aboard a ship.
The military had to send one helicopter pilot back to Halifax early since there were virtually no training opportunities.

Asked whether he had ever seen such a poor performance in a Sea King, the man in charge of all Sea King maintenance said: "I can't say that I have."

Lt.-Col. Bruce Ploughman, commanding officer of 423 Squadron, said repair crews "had to deal with issues that I, quite frankly, have never encountered in my time at sea.

Just in case anyone is still interested in the Canadian Armed Forces, and why the Liberal Party of Canada shouldn't be allowed near it, I should recap the pointlessly long history of this fiasco: in 1993 Chretien cancelled a $4.8 billion contract for 43 helicopters to replace the aged Labradors and Sea Kings (SAR and shipborne helos, respectively), incurring a $478 million cancellation penalty and requiring the $71.5 million Sea King Life Extension Program (I have found another $50 million life extension project, but have no idea how many of these have been undertaken since 1993, nor at what cost); in 1998, Chretien signed a $790 million contract for 15 Cormorants, a version of the EH-101 cancelled by his government five years previously; in 2004, Sikorsky won a highly disputed bid to provide 28 shipborne helicopters, service and spare parts for a total cost of $5 billion.

In other words, it has cost the Canadian taxpayer at least $6.4 billion and a dozen years of sub-optimal operational capabilities to do what a $4.8 billion contract would have accomplished if the Liberals hadn't been willing to score cheap political points with it just to get their corrupt asses elected.

We won't even talk about the submarine purchase. I don't need any more Liberal lawyers suing me for pointing out the truth, thank you very much.

This isn't isolated to procurment either, folks.

The problem, according to all three commanders, is money. There's a $1.3 billion funding shortfall this year alone. The effect, they say is planes unable to fly, ships at dock and an army in danger of rusting out.

Gordon O'Connor, Conservative party defence critic, is also a retired general whose last job in the army was planning the forces' future.

"They're [the Liberals] going to have to decide which bases get closed, what equipment fleets are not operated anymore, what capabilities are dropped. They're not on a track to expand the armed forces no matter what you hear," said O'Connor.

How long am I going to have to sound like a broken record before someone changes the tune?

Babble off.


At 2:33 p.m., Blogger OttawaCon said...

Let's not forget to include this on the tab:

The Liberals were so embarassed that the same helicopters might be chosen that they rigged the game. The government has been fighting it, and losing it, at the procedural level.

The damages may add a substantial amount tot he eventual cost. Worse, it could lead to a further delay.

At 7:17 p.m., Blogger John the Mad said...

I was going to post on this subject tonight, but you've done the job for me. I'll link over to your post instead. Well said, Damian.


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