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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are investigating after a person broke into and stole a vehicle from a Douglas Street car dealership on the morning of March 3. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Suspect sought after stealing vehicle from Victoria dealership

Suspect broke into Douglas Street dealership shortly before 5 a.m.

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Victoria Police Department vehicle outside the headquarters building. VicPD (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after Victoria restaurant worker punched, thrown to the ground

Police say woman was found lying on the sidewalk with non-life threatening injuries

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
ATM at North Saanich high school torched during early morning break-and-enter

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Intiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read