Today's headlines: Canada's Pacific fleet can't catch a break

Several ships sit hobbled at CFB Esquimalt

Chad Hipolito/CP

Canada’s navy could use a few extra band-aids. On Friday, a pair of ships collided during exercises on the way to Hawaii. The navy is investigating the close-quarters thump that left HMCS Algonquin with significant port-side damage and HMCS Protecteur with damage to her bow. No one was injured, but the consequences aren’t small for the navy’s operational capability.

The ships’ hobbled back to base at Esquimalt, B.C., where they’ll receive repairs. In the immediate term, that layup means they won’t deploy to the Asia-Pacific region, where they would have attended International Fleet Week in Australia, as well as a number of what the Canadian Press reported were “diplomatic stops with the Department of Foreign Affairs.” Now, none of that can happen.

Without HMCS Protecteur, the navy’s hugely restricted on the west coast. Canada’s navy only has two supply ships at its disposal—one per coast—and each can reportedly carry “14,590 tons of fuel, 400 tons of aviation fuel, 1,000 tons of dry cargo and 1,250 tons of ammunition.” If one of those ships is out of commission, the rest of the Pacific fleet is unable to be refuelled and resupplied.

This morning,  The Globe and Mail‘s John Ibbitson pointed to the humbled fleet as “the price the navy is paying as Ottawa drags its heels on the promised renewal of the fleet”—a plan that’s supposed to inject $33 billion into new ships over 30 years.

All those band-aids for HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Protecteur won’t be quite enough to fix up the west-coast fleet. On April 23, an American fishing trawler smashed into HMCS Winnipeg at CFB Esquimalt. This morning, the Ottawa Citizen‘s David Pugliese reported that repairs to the ship—which “include, but are not limited to, shell plate, bulkhead, deck, frame and longitudinal damages, broken stanchions, and destroyed bollards”—will be finished by the end of the year. Total costs aren’t finalized, and the navy didn’t say much more since it’s making a claim against the company who owns the trawler.

At what point do you look at the rest of the fleet and, just to be safe, find a good hiding place somewhere on B.C.’s coast?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with U.S. wireless giant Verizon’s lack of interest in the Canadian market. The National Post fronts (online) the proof that income inequality has been dropping since the 1990s. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Verizon’s decision not to enter Canada. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Verizon’s CEO calling the speculation about a Canadian operation “way overblown.” iPolitics fronts Brazil’s anger with the United States after the National Security Agency spied on the South American country’s president. CBC.ca leads with the U.S. Senate’s consideration of a military intervention in Syria. CTV News leads with the refugee count out of Syria hitting two million. National Newswatch showcases a Surrey Leader story about a U.S. lawyer’s suggestion that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s admitted pot use could bar him entry into the United States.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Research. Ontario extended transitional funding for the Experimental Lakes Area, a freshwater research station in northern Ontario saved by provincial governments after federal cuts. 2. Transgender. An 11-year-old Edmonton boy who was born a girl, Wren Kauffman, came out as transgendered about two years after he started identifying as the opposite gender.
3. Charbonneau. The inquiry into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry resumes proceedings today after a summer break. Union leaders are expected to testify in coming weeks. 4. Cycling. The brand new, 900-kilometre Tour of Alberta cycling race gets underway today in Edmonton. The event will draw some of the world’s best cyclists, who will race to Calgary.
5. Polio. As Taliban militants in northern Pakistan ban polio vaccination workers—and are suspected of killing others—the number of polio cases in the country has risen to 27 so far this year. 6. Kenya. A new tech hub in Nairobi that replaced a mall with luxury boutiques illustrates the growth of the burgeoning IT sector that already represents five percent of the Kenyan economy.