Some might say B.C. came out with the shorter end of the stick after the results of Canada’s $33 billion Shipbuilding bidding process were announced earlier this month. While Nova Scotia scored $25 billion to build snazzy warships, Vancouver’s Seaspan Yards only got $8 billion to knock together a few tugs and boats with nerdy names like “Channel Survey and Sounding Vessels,” or “Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessels.” But who really cares. While these don’t make headlines like destroyers do, such a huge cash injection into B.C.’s ailing shipbuilding industry means a lot of jobs for tradespeople across the province – up to 4,000 over the next decade.
I hate to admit it, but the Harper regime kind of got it right on this one. After Mulroney let domestic shipbuilding activity melt away post NAFTA, Harper is scoring major political points by revitalizing this proud part of our heritage, and injecting new stimulus into the economy. And don’t forget: the prime minister also lies awake at night fretting that Russia, Denmark, China, the U.S. (the list goes on) are cheekily sticking their flags on our arctic sea bed. 15 new frigates and a sexy icebreaker called Diefenbaker are meant to prevent that. Good thing too – those embarrassingly crappy, second-hand submarines we got from the Brits can barely float let alone do their job patrolling the “true north strong and free.”