National Defence officials are getting ready for what they expect will be a rough ride over the coming weeks on the problem-plagued programs to build new ships.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer is expected to produce a report by the end of the month on the controversial $70 billion Canadian Surface Combatant program.
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Brace for impact – DND gets ready for Auditor General’s report on National Shipbuilding Back to video
The CSC project would see the construction of 15 warships for the Royal Canadian Navy at Irving Shipbuilding on the east coast. The vessels are to replace the current Halifax-class frigate fleet.
The project, however, has already faced delays and significant increases in cost as the price tag has climbed from an original $14 billion estimate to around $70 billion. Officially, the bureaucrats at the Department of National Defence say they don’t believe the project is in trouble. Privately there is a growing acknowledgement that the program is out of control and is a money pit that might not produce the ships needed by the Royal Canadian Navy.
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Add to all this a new Auditor General’s report on the National Shipbuilding Strategy the overall plan for the construction of the CSC warships and all other vessels for the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Vincent Frigon, spokesman for the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, confirmed to this newspaper that the report will be tabled Feb. 25. “This audit will focus on whether National Defence; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Public Services and Procurement Canada; and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada managed the National Shipbuilding Strategy in a manner that supported timely renewal of the federal large vessel fleet,” the audit outline noted.
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