Despite cost, building warships in Canada good for navy: government official

OTTAWA — The top Defence official for Canada’s multibillion-dollar military procurement system says spending more to build naval warships in the country doesn’t just create jobs — it protects the navy.

Critics of the federal shipbuilding plan have long said building 15 vessels in Canada to replace the navy’s frigates and destroyers will cost billions more than outsourcing the work to foreign countries.

The government has in turn argued that building them in Canada, at an estimated cost of around $60 billion, will create jobs in Halifax and other parts of the country.

Patrick Finn, the assistant deputy minister of materiel at the Department of National Defence, says it also means the navy won’t have to rely on foreign companies to support the new ships.

Finn say one of the reasons Defence has had such a hard time getting its four submarines up and running is because of a lack of spare parts and other technical support.

The submarines were purchased used from the U.K. in the 1990s, by which point Finn says many of the British companies involved in their construction had moved on to other projects.

That meant Defence had to spend years building up an industry to support the submarines, a situation the government hopes to avoid with the new warships.

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