Editorial: Where’s the action at DND?
There is little sign of a fresh wind blowing through the Department of National Defence.
October 3, 2007 By Richard Purser
It was just in the last issue of WINGS that this page wrote
hopefully about the prospects of the brand-new defence minister, John
McCallum, who at least brought a proven intellect to the job despite
his lack of expertise in matters military.
But now, three months into his mandate, there is little sign of a
fresh wind blowing through the Department of National Defence.
Especially disquieting is the apparent absence of any action to get the
long-moribund Maritime Helicopter Project moving. A new minister of
course takes time to get the hang of a complex portfolio, but this is
the one issue that demanded speedy action and on which, by acting, the
minister could have made an early mark.
But, 10 years after Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's inane and purely
political decision to scrap the previous government's contract to
purchase EH101 helicopters to replace Canada's Labrador SAR helicopters
and Sea King maritime helicopters, there is still no sign of the aging,
maintenance-heavy Sea Kings being replaced. The Labradors are now being
replaced, with the Cormorant variant of the EH101, but even that came
only after great prevarication.