Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Fix Canada's Botched Military Procurement

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Fix Canada's Botched Military Procurement

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Fix Canada's botched military procurement

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Jan. 6:

Mismanagement, staff cuts and rank political opportunism have caused widespread delays in military procurement, according to a revealing new study. And this scandalous inefficiency is denying those serving on Canada's front lines the equipment they need.

The previous Conservative government deserves a good part of the blame, as it attempted to cling to power last year. The chronically slow system for acquiring new military gear was crippled as the Tories sat on key decisions so they could be announced in the run-up to October's election.

Fewer civil servants are struggling to manage soaring spending on a variety of complex projects. They lack the expertise that was available in the past. And well-intentioned oversight procedures have produced tangles of red tape.

The all-too-frequent result is that urgently needed equipment - including aircraft, ships and vehicles - aren't getting to military personnel in good time or in the expected numbers.

The new Liberal government has much on its agenda, from settling an influx of Syrian refugees to revitalizing the moribund economy. These are important, no doubt, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should not lose sight of his party's promise to end Conservative mismanagement of military procurement. Billions of dollars are at stake, along with the well-being of thousands of armed forces personnel. They have been poorly served over the past few years.

An in-depth sampling of the Conservative government's military buying has found that two-thirds of projects are running behind schedule. A 73-page study released this week by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute shows that 63 per cent of 59 projects have missed their timelines. Only about a third are on schedule, while 3 per cent appear to be arriving more quickly than anticipated. That's not good enough, not by a long shot.

Delayed projects include new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, which were originally scheduled for delivery in mid-2005 and are now expected in only 2019. Arctic patrol ships were initially set for arrival in 2013 but are now booked for 2018. …

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