The Canadian government has had a great deal of trouble in replacing their obsolete submarine fleet. It came to a head last year when the Canadians purchased four British Upholder class submarines. One of the subs, renamed the HMCS Chicoutimi, suffered from a series of accidents while it was being sailed to Canada from England. One crewman lost his life, and the boat was abandoned and had to be towed back to Britain by American and English vessels.
This has been a very embarrassing episode for the Canadian government and military. The civilian press has questioned the need for a silent service at all, something that appears nothing less than surreal to those of us who pay attention to military affairs. Last time I looked, Canada has more coastline to patrol than any other country in the world. Removing a vital asset such as a submarine fleet from your navy is a sure way to open gaping holes in the national defense.
But this is something that weíve come to expect from Canada. Itís inevitable that anything to do with the military will become politicized eventually, but it seems that the Canadian government has been all too ready to bare their countryís throat to any potential enemy in order to reap a short term advantage in the polls.
A recent article in the Canadian Military Journal lays it all out, and is highly recommended because of it.
The author, Peter T. Haydon, is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies of Dalhousie University. Donít let that put you off, though. The article is obviously aimed at a civilian audience, with a decided lack of obscure military jargon. Haydon explains what submarines do better than any other ship, why Canada needs the boats, and what the options are.
Itís the last that is most important. Canada has very few options, mostly due to incessant meddling by the government. I see this article as an attempt to clear the air and counter some of that.
At any rate, go ahead and click right here. Itís well worth your time.