Ottawa to purchase a 6th Arctic and offshore patrol vessel: Sajjan

The federal government had previously committed to five Arctic and offshore patrol vessels and had been considering a sixth

Concern over a potential lack of work for Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding turned to cheers Friday as the federal government announced it would purchase a sixth Arctic and offshore patrol vessel for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told hundreds of workers gathered in the vast facility on the Halifax waterfront that the vessel would be built in Halifax.

His announcement came a day after Ottawa revealed plans to divvy up $7 billion in maintenance and repair contracts for navy frigates among three shipyards — a move that set off alarms for workers at the Halifax yard.

The federal government had previously committed to five Arctic and offshore patrol vessels and had been considering a sixth, before Sajjan made his announcement.

The minister wouldn’t tell reporters when that decision was made.

“We had to go through our own analysis to determine if a sixth Arctic patrol vessel was going to be needed,” said Sajjan. “A determination was made, advice was given and we made a decision as a cabinet.”

The company is set to deliver the first of the vessels next summer and is in the process of building three more. They will be tasked with patrolling Canadian waters including the Arctic.

Irving said construction of the second and third vessels — to be known as HMCS Margaret Brooke and HMCS Max Bernays — is already well underway, and construction of a fourth is set to begin later this year.

Company president Kevin McCoy said a sixth vessel means help in retaining jobs at the yard because it represents a significant narrowing of a gap between when the last of the vessels are completed sometime in 2024 and work begins on the Canadian Surface Combatant program.

McCoy said although no layoffs are planned at this point, a number of things have to happen to ensure steady work.

“What the minister announced today solves about half of a three-year problem and we are continuing to have dialogue on how we collectively solve the other half,” McCoy said.

On Thursday, Ottawa said the maintenance and repair contracts for the existing frigates would be shared by Irving Shipbuilding, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, B.C., and Davie Shipbuilding in Levis, Que.

Workers in Halifax reacted with disappointment Thursday, citing concerns about a lack of work in the gap period.

That changed Friday as their union welcomed news of a sixth Arctic vessel.

Union local president David Baker-Mosher said the announcement should allow for more continuity at the yard.

“The additional work can close the gap,” he said. “Also we have to get a determined design for the future combatants so we can bring that closer to the end of the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships program.”

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Company expects to begin welding and pipe laying in 2020

Northwest B.C. physician receives Medal of Good Citizenship Award

Dr. Peter Newbery was one of 18 people in B.C. to get provincial recognition

Northern Society for Domestic Peace remembers women killed in Montreal Massacre 30 years ago

Society will hand out 14 red roses, one for each of the victims, to women who stop by office today

Petition calls for appeal of Luke Strimbold’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says the former Burns Lake mayor’s case is under review

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Most Read