Canadian Coast Guard
The floating laboratory will help scientists study fish habitats.
While the reopening of Kitsliano is a clear signal that the Liberals are interested in marine safety on the west coast, they have so far missed one vital piece: re-opening the Comox Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre.
The government's budgeting problems will force the Navy to choose between acquiring either fewer ships, or ships that are significantly less capable than they need. The fact that Canada's Chief of Defence Staff does not know the government's plan is proof there is not one.
Allegations of expense scandals in the Senate have shocked many Canadians and rightfully so. Although unsettling, such antics are not an isolated case; they are part of a larger institutional problem with government.
Can government really deliver? Evidence suggests the answer is a resounding "no." This is plain to see for anyone who peruses the catalogue of reports from Canada's Office of the Auditor General, an independent federal body charged with reporting to parliament on the performance of various government programs and initiatives. We did just that -- and it's not a pretty picture. It's hard to imagine a private company staying in business for long if it behaved this way. But therein lies the problem. Unlike a private company, a government can't go out of business. And government typically operates in a monopoly environment protected from competition so the consequences of mistakes and inefficiencies tend to persist.
Canada sure has a long, long way to go: The Canadian Navy has 8,500 personnel. The American navy has 317,000. Of course, the United States patrols the world, while Canada's navy patrols its own jurisdiction. But even so, the gap is not only noticeable but embarrassing.