Federal government considers buying nuclear submarines

Plan would see Ottawa scrap dysfunctional current fleet to buy new subs


The federal government is considering scrapping its aging fleet of British-made submarines—which have been languishing in repair shops for years—and replacing them with new ones, CBC News reported on Friday. Speaking outside the House of Commons this week, Defence Minister Peter MacKay hinted that Canada may purchase nuclear subs, which he said “are what’s needed under deep water, deep ice.” The Chrétien Liberals purchased the country’s existing fleet of subs from Britain in 1998. The price was $750 million for four second-hand subs, which was billed at the time as a bargain. But the subs have been plagued with breakdowns ever since, ratcheting up more than $1 billion in repair bills. One of the subs, the HMCS Chicoutimi, caught fire on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic to Canada, killing one sailor. Although the Department of National Defence is hoping to have the subs back in open waters over the next few years, their lifespan is estimated to be only about a decade. If the government was to cut its losses and buy nuclear subs, each new vessel would cost at least $3 billion, the CBC reports.


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Federal government considers buying nuclear submarines

  1. That is what should have been done in the first place.

  2. This comment was deleted.

    • It wasn’t a military boondoggle, it was a liberal government one.  And yes, building new ones is what should have been done in the first place.  I just don’t see the value of purchasing another countries old obsolete equipment. 

  3. What’s 3 billion to Harper. He’s got enough money to build prisons, buy jets and $33 billion in ships. Just take it from EI , welfare and equalization programs.

    • Actually the training, engineering and building of viable submarines would go further in the economy than EI, Welfare and Equalization Payments.
      It’s not very realistic under current conditions but if the time came, a new generation of subs would prove valuable.

      • I doubt that we have the expertise to build these subs in Canada (unlike the surface fleet).

  4. should add it into the National Ship building strategy. Nuclear subs were needed back in the 80’s and now with the arctics borders being claimed by not only Russia , Norway/Sweden (cant remember which) and now also China doing alot of flag waving we need the subs to protect whats rightfully ours. Hey you dont use it you loose it right? plus if we were to build subs that would benefit the ship building sector create a bunch of high tech jobs. So really 3billion a ship aint that bad when you consider the spin offs from it like the jobs that are created from the high tech jobs after all a ship engineer needs to eat right so maybe now a Tim Hortons opens up and so on and so fourth…fresh doughnuts..ahhhh… 

  5. Did anyone from Macleans actually listen to MacKay on cbc  Power and Politics friday ? I think the media has got to start being acountable for what they say !!! Mr. MacKay said ” no new subs ” very clearly ! Wonder why no one believes what main stream media says anymore !

  6. There is no military threat to our Arctic. No state has the capability to “occupy” the Arctic. Those that covet our resources will find it easier to buy them. That is what is happening right now. Therefore,  the real threat to our sovereignty is an economic threat.

    The threat is that unaffordable actions by our government will bankrupt our country. To defend our “sovereignty” we need to counter the economic threat to our Arctic, protect our coastal fisheries, deal with internal unrest, root out terrorist cells, and, most importantly, keep our country financially viable, etc. 

    The threat I see cannot be countered by subs under the surface or aircraft doing 500kts!

    Rather, it seems that we will need a monitoring system[perhaps long range drones], and the ability to put “boots on the ground or ice”, ie, surface ships including icebreakers and aircraft that have the ability to land on ice, snow, or the short runways that might be available in the Arctic.

    Any real disputes in the Arctic will ultimately wind up in International courts. It is in no one’s interest or capability to fight a “war” over this treasured land/ice mass.

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