Peter MacKay calls Cyclone helicopter deal ‘worst procurement’ in Canadian history


Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the Liberal deal to purchase a new fleet of helicopters for the air force was “the worst procurement in the history of Canada”, CBC reports.

The purchase of 28 CH-148 Cyclones from Sikorsky International Operation, was organized by the Chretien government in 1993, and is four years overdue. This week, the American aerospace company missed another deadline and the helicopter’s arrival continues to be delayed.

MacKay, in Halifax on Tuesday for a shipbuilding announcement, said the federal government is pushing as hard as possible to deliver the choppers.

“Timelines weren’t met. Timelines were broken,” MacKay told CTV news in Halifax, according to the Chronicle-Herald.

Although MacKay has been defence minister for almost five years, and mired in his own procurement problems, he says the delays are rooted in the original deal. The first Cyclone was supposed arrive in Canada in November 2008.

Filed under:

Peter MacKay calls Cyclone helicopter deal ‘worst procurement’ in Canadian history

  1. Wow. Talk about throwing stones in a glass house.

  2. Come on Peter, you’re barely even trying here … Surely you can find some way to pin the problems faced by your current government on Lester Pearson, William Lyon Mackenzie King, or an even earlier Liberal PM like Wilfrid Laurier.

    Only reaching back as far as Chretien just smacks of laziness.

  3. Could be, but I find it odd a vendor would commit firmly to dates several years in advance when actual delivery isn’t until 15 years after the contract is signed (sure it’s nice to be able to show the customer you’re on schedule, but making a firm commitment that can only penalize you when you have more than a decade (in some cases) to fix the problem seems extraordinary.

  4. Let’s see the evidence on how hard you’re pushing, MacKay. Surely there are penalties for late delivery; are you enforcing them? If there are no penalties, what are you learning that you can apply to the CF-18 replacement process?

  5. well one important detail left out of the article is that the purchase price for these much needed choppers was 1.8 billion, way to leave out any valid comparison that would give his remarks any value. well reported

  6. ….and he’ll do his darndest to do beat that and do an even worse deal.

  7. Pete, you spoke too soon.
    The worst military procurement in Canadian history is the F-35.

  8. We need to boost our military. It has sat so long while the unions have taken over. Haters can begin now. But know your country instead of complaining. These upgrades are far to long overdue.
    That statement includes air force and especially to our own navy. I don’t honestly care which party political does it. I didnt vote for harper, but am happy with what he is doing. It seems to me that to many people that can work dont. And have to much time sucking on my tax payer tit to get a job. Haters on that statement dont even love Canada like i do, so you response means nothing.
    Unfortunately I see all these blank cheques being sent to the states. While, they bicker about quality of oil that they get for cheap. Wont fix the pipelines in the states because they go on strike, or dont get paid enough. I would like to suggest that we take the helicopters, as ordered without equipment. Charge them the fines that are applicable. Take the money and subsidise the equipment with it. Then give the contract to a CANADIAN company that can do the work, provide the equipment with the fines. Then in a few years reap the benifits, if im ever lost at sea.
    People take charge. Don’t disable needed equipment for the very core of our safety. Im so disappointed by your bickering. Insert muted comment here. PS I am glad NDP didn’t take power,

  9. Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the Liberal deal to purchase a new fleet of helicopters for the air force was “the worst procurement in the history of Canada,” but Gazebo Tony and I are working hard to surpass that benchmark with the F-35s” he added.

    Seriously, though. How hard is it to follow this process: 1. Define and present the operational requirements. 2. Choose a bid which meets the required specs, is among the lowest, and comes from a company with adequate financial and technical resources. 3. Set up penalties if the winning bidder fails to deliver the goods according to an agreed-upon schedule.

    Procurement ain’t rocket science, people. These deals are buggered because of political motivations that cause the governments in charge to favour one supplier over another. Whether it’s because of kickbacks, promises of jobs in specific ridings/regions, or sheer incompetence on the part of the people responsible for the procurement, these multi-billion dollar boondoggles have become the norm with successive federal governments, dating back to the good-old days of Karl-Heinz Schreiber and Mulrooney promising to manufacture armoured vehicles in Cape Breton (probably further back than that).

  10. Chretein’s autobiography says the country saved money on interest payments to the federal debt. At least the ship’s software haven’t been hacked by China and isn’t vulnerable to 1970s radar band techology. I’m very disturbed there is no public discussion of this. I can’t see given the development costs of the F-35, how this can be fixed.
    The problem with the ships is that Halifax has communist human capital that seeks to drive out the working poor. On the prairies, these type of people are beaten by gangs. Gangs generally make the world a worse place, especially intimidating woemn and children, but in this instance they form a public good. Halifax is the very worst city in NORAD for any defense activities. Russia will certainly compromise these ships even before they are built.

    • Adjust. Your. Meds.

Sign in to comment.