More Navy ships should be based at CFB Esquimalt than on the East Coast for strategic reasons

Move more navy ships to Pacific, says analyst

Ships needed on West Coast to have Canada remain relevant to ever-increasing Asia-Pacific trade and diplomacy.

  • Aug. 14, 2013 9:00 a.m.

The Canadian Navy should relocate the majority of its vessels from CFB Halifax to the West Coast, says a national defence analyst.

David McDonough, a research fellow at the University of British Columbia, said Canada needs to increase its presence at CFB Esquimalt and in the Pacific Ocean to remain relevant to ever-increasing Asia-Pacific trade and diplomacy.

“I’ve basically proposed a 60/40 split in surface warships (frigates, destroyers) favouring the Pacific over the Atlantic, rather than today’s 60/40 split in those ships favouring the Atlantic,” McDonough said.

Canada is keen to gain a seat at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting of defence ministers, a key appointment if it hopes to bolster trade, McDonough said.

The so-called “Asia-Pacific rebalancing” is already being carried out by the U.S. Navy, which plans to have 60 per cent of its fleet in the Pacific Ocean by 2020.

But with a defence budget 33 times larger than Canada’s, the Harper government would do better to focus on creating a renewed defence strategy and asking tough questions about the role of Canada’s military in the 21st century, said Jack Harris, NDP defence critic.

“We need to define what Canadians want,” Harris said. “We’ve taken the position for quite some time that there really needs to be a rethink of the military positioning for Canada’s defence strategy.”

Doing that, said Harris, requires a formal review and stakeholder input from all interested parties.

There are five frigates and one destroyer assigned to CFB Esquimalt, while CFB Halifax is home base for seven frigates and two destroyers.

“We’re not talking about the movement of one or two ships influencing world strategy here,” Harris said. “If that’s the perspective from which (McDonough) is coming, you have to wonder what strength to give to the opinions here. It’s speculative.”

Defence Ministry officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Just Posted

Missing: 12-year-old girl last seen in area of Shelbourne and Hillside

Victoria police ask for public help in locating girl

The blind lead the blind at the Pacific Training Centre

Centre specializes in teaching visually impaired people everyday skills to live an independent life

Fewer Greater Victoria residents collecting EI benefits

The number of local EI recipients dropped by 5.5 per cent from January 2018 to January 2019

Sidney woman hosts charity shabby-chic furniture sale

Upcycled and refurbed furniture sells to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society of BC and Crohn’sColitis Canada

Student Voice: Reynolds ReyBots qualify for Texas-sized Robot championship

ReyBots robot met premier, ‘dodged’ the competition

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Jr. B Cougars advance to both league finals and provincials

Victoria beats Nanaimo 4-3 in Game 6 Friday night to win series

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Most Read