Bureaucrats blocked former Tory government’s desire to buy navy landing ships

The bureaucracy at National Defence helped scuttle two attempts by the Harper government to acquire helicopter landing ships over the last few years, documents show.

OTTAWA — The bureaucracy at National Defence helped scuttle two attempts by the Harper government to acquire helicopter landing ships over the last few years, documents show.

The most high-profile of the cases involved the sale by France of two Mistral-class warships, which had originally been built for Russia, but were on the auction block after the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information legislation show former defence minister Jason Kenney received conflicting advice from top civilian and military commanders, but decided to ignore it and made a last-minute, personal pitch to French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

A teleconference took place last June, a few months before President Francois Hollande’s government decided to sell the 21,000-tonne vessels to Egypt.

The former Conservative government was interested in acquiring landing ships, which can carry troops, equipment and helicopters, as a way to boost the Canadian military’s ability to respond quickly to trouble spots and humanitarian disasters around the world.

The documents reveal that, prior to discussions with the French, the Conservatives examined the idea of acquiring large, surplus British Bay-class amphibious ships — an idea defence bureaucrats also shot down.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Aug. 3

Alberta at more than 10,000 confirmed

Fecal contamination doesn’t keep people away at Gull Lake

Elevated levels of fecal bacteria detected at three central Alberta lakes

Sylvan Lake beach crowded but people maintaining distance

‘A quick picture may give you the impression that everybody is crowded together’

Wild blank Canucks 3-0 to take early series lead, Stalock earns shutout

‘Our guys did an unbelievable job staying with them’

With loan money gone, restaurants are at mercy of virus

“At this moment, I don’t see getting my full payroll back”

COVID-19 blamed as work on military port first promised in 2007 sees new delay

Stephen Harper first announced plans to build the Nanisivik deep-water port in Nunavut

Canada extends peacekeeping mission despite Security Council loss

Deployment of a CC-130 Hercules in support of UN missions in Africa

Quebec seeing spike in drownings compared to rest of Canada: Lifesaving Society

As of July 31, the province has already reported at least 60 drownings for the year

N.L.’s next premier will be announced today as Liberals elect new party leader

The party is hosting a leadership convention in St. John’s

A weakened Tropical Storm Isaias lashes virus-hit Florida

‘Don’t be fooled by the downgrade’

Most Read