Trudeau’s Submarine Fiasco: A Disturbing Problem

Alshaar Ansari
Alshaar Ansari News Politics
7 Min Read
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The Canadian government’s recent defense policy review has caused controversy and concern among experts and the public. While the Liberals have pledged to look into expanding and replacing the country’s submarine fleet, the prime minister’s willingness to consider nuclear-powered submarines has raised hackles and drawn criticism from all quarters.

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The policy review — launched in 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — seeks to address a shifting global landscape. But rather than a sincere effort to bolster Canada’s national defence, the government’s approach to the submarine question has been met with skepticism and allegations of political gamesmanship.

Canada currently has four diesel-electric second-hand subs bought from Britain in the late 1990s that have had a woeful performance record. During one recent four-year period, they spent just 214 days at sea combined; two of them didn’t put out at all over those years. This abysmal track record raises doubts about Ottawa’s ability to manage defence capabilities effectively under Trudeau — and about whether it makes sense to keep the existing fleet.

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Still, Trudeau is not ruling out nuclear subs — a move that alarms many experts. Darren Hawco, a retired vice-admiral and board member with Conference of Defence Associations Institute, says what matters most is ensuring submarines can operate under ice regardless of whether they’re conventional or nuclear powered. Even so, this is no simple feat: “It’s difficult,” Hawco acknowledges, “to operate under the frozen parts.”

Critics say Trudeau’s willingness to entertain nuclear subs smacks more of politics than military necessity – an attempt perhaps either to placate certain interest groups or distract attention from wider policy failures by appearing bold on defence issues. They argue additional costs associated with infrastructure for nuclear powered boats might not be justified given absence so far clear underwater security threat Arctic.

Robert Huebert, professor at University Calgary, thinks anything less than a nuclear submarine fleet would be mistake for Canada. But given this country’s notoriously slow procurement process, warns Huebert: “Even if we make the decision today, we’re not going to see that submarine in the water probably for the next decades.”

Last year’s Senate report said Canada could avoid nuclear subs by looking at air-independent propulsion as a new technology. But Huebert dismisses this as unproven; he says when it comes defence procurement in this country, need proven technology.

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Critics have widely panned Trudeau government’s handling of Submarine issue as exemplifying its inability to make tough choices and effectively manage defence capabilities. Lack clear long-term strategy coupled with apparent readiness consider costly potentially unnecessary options raises questions about priorities commitment keeping military strong ready for future challenges, some fret.

While the government is carrying out its defense policy review, it will be important for Canadians to watch carefully what the Trudeau administration does and judge its choices on this vital question. The very future of Canadian national security hangs in the balance, and people should have a government that makes knowledgeable, accountable decisions.

Critics charge that Canada’s submarine position reflects wider policy failures around defence priority-setting by the Trudeau government. For many people, and this is despite their acceptance of how expensive nuclear-powered submarines can be and what kind of infrastructure they require, the prime minister’s willingness to entertain them looks like nothing more than political opportunism designed either as a smokescreen for shortcomings elsewhere or to buy off certain interests groups.

Moreover, these record-breaking failures with regards to keeping up maintenance levels or updating capabilities have raised grave doubts about this administration’s ability even just when it comes down simply maintaining present day armed forces equipment let alone preparing us adequately against future threats within this new global security environment we find ourselves living through today where everything has changed so much over such short periods time due massive technology innovation breakthroughs globally across multiple sectors since WW2 ended many years ago now – which means there were some serious problems before anyone ever started talking about building new ones. With 214 days spent underwater between four boats over four recent years (zero in case two), critics ask themselves if such performance level indicate seriousness towards ensuring readiness meet current challenges posed by modern day security landscape

The debate over Canada’s submarine fleet also draws attention wider problems within procurement processes throughout our country’s military history; experts such as Huebert remind us all too well-known fact regarding defence acquisitions being slowest part any decision-making process undertaken by Ottawa bureaucracy – therefore even assuming that today someone finally decides something should happen tomorrow still another few decades might pass before those shiny fresh subs are anywhere close operational status thereby raising questions yet again vis-à-vis rapidity plus effectiveness when faced with new emerging threats or general security matters more broadly speaking according to some strategic analysts.

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In essence, dealing with submarines has become indicative how poorly Ottawa handles defense priorities or even keeping armed forces ready at all times. When the policy review is finalized citizens must closely follow events and hold their leaders accountable for actions taken during this critical moment in time which could determine whether we remain strong militarily or not.

Last Updated on by Alshaar Ansari

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