ARCHIVED - Speaking Notes for The Honourable Gordon J. O'Connor, PC, MP Minister of National Defence

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Minister's Speeches Archive / July 9, 2007

CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia

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Prime Minister,
Minister Strahl,
Minister Lunn,
Member of Parliament Lunney
Vice-Admiral Robertson,
Rear-Admiral Girouard,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
[Meh-damez eh Messieurs]
Good morning.

It is a pleasure to be here today on Canada’s West Coast with Prime Minister Harper. He is a strong supporter of the brave men and women of the Navy.

Notre Premier Ministre comprend l’importance que les Forces canadiennes représentent pour le pays. Pour cette raison, notre gouvernement s’est engagé à fortifier les capacités du Canada afin de mieux protéger notre souveraineté et notre sécurité. L’Arctique représente une partie intégrale de notre engagement.

[Our Prime Minister understands how important the Forces are for Canada. That’s why our new government is committed to strengthening Canada’s independent capacity to defend Canada’s sovereignty and security – particularly in the North.]

Today’s announcement is for the acquisition of up to 8 armed naval Arctic-Offshore Patrol Ships, based in Esquimalt and Halifax, supported by a deep water Arctic docking and refueling facility.

This means that, for the first time in a half-century, Canada will have a recognized naval presence in the Arctic -– a major accomplishment for our government.

The total capital cost for these ships is approximately $3.1 billion, involving a definition as well as a build phase. The operational and support costs are estimated at approximately $4.3 billion, over the 25-year life of the ships.

Through a fully competitive, open and transparent process, these ships will be built and maintained in Canada -- by Canadian workers employed in Canadian shipyards. The notional dimensions of the ships will be in the order of about 100 metres in length, with a displacement of about 3,500 metric tonnes.

Canada’s Arctic Off-shore Patrol Ships will possess a robust icebreaking capability, similar to the new internationally-recognized Polar Class 5 level. This means that they will be able to operate in up to one meter of first year ice -- and some older ice inclusions. These ships will stand among the world’s heaviest armed naval vessels capable of sustained operations in ice.

In addition to being able to operate in ice, these Arctic-Offshore Patrol Ships will also be capable of sustained operations off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts protecting our sovereignty and security.

They will embark and operate helicopters. As well, these ships will be able to carry highly-trained military teams, such as special forces for operations ashore. Similarly, they will be able to support boat operations, such as boarding parties.

The Arctic-Offshore Patrol Ships will be able to sustain operations for up to 4 months, with a range of 6,000 nautical miles. Equipped with a naval gun armament, they will able to cruise at 14 knots with a top speed of 20 knots.

The choice of these vessels is a result of a careful analysis of the three-ocean requirement by Canada’s Naval leadership. They have recommended the acquisition of up to eight armed Arctic Off-Shore Patrol Ships as the most effective way to assert Canada’s authority, independence and sovereignty in our Northern waters and the other two oceans. Today’s announcement is the first step towards realizing the government’s goal of a three-ocean navy.

C’est aujourd’hui un grand jour pour la Marine, un grand jour pour les Forces canadiennes - et un grand jour pour le Canada.

[Today is a great day for the Navy, a great day for the Canadian Forces – and a great day for Canada.]


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