Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Defence Minister Says Cyclone Helicopter Deal 'Worst' in Canada's History

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Defence Minister Says Cyclone Helicopter Deal 'Worst' in Canada's History

Article excerpt

Defence minister slams helicopter deal

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HALIFAX - Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the much-delayed deal to buy a fleet of new helicopters for the air force represents the "worst procurement" in Canada's history.

Last month, Sikorsky International Operations missed another deadline to begin delivering the first batch of 28 CH-148 Cyclones.

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

"This is an example of how procurement can go badly wrong," MacKay told reporters at Irving's Halifax shipyard, referring to the deal struck by the previous Liberal government in 2004. "This is the worst procurement in the history of Canada."

The delivery of the choppers is now four years overdue.

MacKay, who has been defence minister for almost five years, did not take responsibility for the latest delays, instead focussing on the original deal.

"We weren't going to break the contact the way the previous government did and set it back another decade," he told CTV News, referring to the Liberal government's decision in 1993 to scrap a Tory plan to buy a fleet of AgustaWestland EH101 helicopters. …

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