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February 16, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

Boeing still in race to supply Canada with fighter jets: sources





Boeing Co, locked in a trade dispute with the Canadian government, has applied to stay in the race to supply Canada with 88 new fighter jets, three well-placed sources said on Thursday.

Companies had until Feb. 9 to express an interest in taking part in a competition for planes worth between $15-billion and $19-billion. Ottawa will release its specifications next year, at which point firms can bid.

Boeing did let Canada know it was interested, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The decision does not mean the firm will necessarily put forward its F-18 Super Hornet.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. aerospace company infuriated the Canadian government last year by launching a trade challenge against planemaker Bombardier Inc, accusing it of dumping airliners in the American market.

Although a U.S. trade commission dismissed the complaint on Jan. 26, Boeing can still appeal the decision or launch another complaint against the Canadian firm.

Well-informed sources said last week Ottawa has made clear to Boeing that its chances of winning the 88-jet deal would be harmed if it pursued the Bombardier case.

Defense experts say Lockheed Martin Corp's new F-35 stealth fighter is likely the front runner. Dassault Aviation SA and Airbus SE also are expected to compete, but with planes that first flew in the 1990s.

Ottawa says bids will be evaluated in part on the basis of "past and recent economic behavior of potential bidders leading up to the procurement."

That test is months away from being finalized, meaning Boeing has no idea whether Ottawa would be satisfied if it did drop the challenge, the sources said.

On the same subject

  • Canada Unprepared for Military Aggression Via Arctic, Say Defence Experts

    February 6, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Canada Unprepared for Military Aggression Via Arctic, Say Defence Experts

    BY RAHUL VAIDYANATH Modernizing outdated North Warning System not funded as part of defence budget   No sooner had a gathering to discuss modernizing the defence of North America taken place than two Russian strategic bombers approached Canadian airspace from the Arctic. The menace underscores the message to the Canadian government and public that the country is at greater risk than it has been in decades. North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) reported the Russian activity on Jan. 31, just two days after the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) hosted a major defence conference in Ottawa. “They [the Russians and Chinese] have the weapons systems and we are increasingly seeing the intent, so we haven’t caught up to that yet,” University of Calgary political science professor and conference panelist Rob Huebert said in an interview following the incident. The Russian aircraft stayed in international airspace and didn’t enter U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace, but it nevertheless highlighted the threat. Huebert says what’s been holding Canada back is a decades-long multi-faceted problem of attitudes. Canada is accustomed to playing the “away game” instead of the “home game,” meaning it prefers to face its threats as far away from its borders as possible. Thus the protection of the North American continent requires a change of mindset given the advanced capabilities of the Russians and Chinese. It’s also naive on Canada’s part to think it can simply talk to Russia and China and get them to play nice. “We have to be a lot more honest with Canadians,” Huebert said. A government can favour certain initiatives, and the current one has shown it can generate broad public buy-in for its environmental initiatives. But even if the public isn’t clamouring for better military capabilities—as seen in the lack of interest the topic garnered during the election run-up—experts say the government can no longer ignore the military threat from Russia and China. “What this government has shown no willingness to deal with is a much more comprehensive understanding of security that encapsulates both environmental security and military security,” Huebert said. For example, the Liberals didn’t put forth their Arctic policy until a day before the election was called. ‘People have to recognize there is a real threat’ Canadian governments have put a lower priority on defence spending for decades, and that has left a consistent drop in capability compared to potential rivals. A case in point is that Canada opted in 2005 to not be a part of the U.S. ballistic missile defence program. Contrast that attitude with the Russians or the Chinese and their imperialist goals. Russia wants to destroy us and China wants to own us, said John Sanford of the U.S.’s National Maritime Intelligence Integration Office, at the CGAI forum. A power play is shaping up between the United States, China, and Russia, and the Arctic is the epicentre of the military conflict. That makes it Canada’s business, according to defence experts. “People have to recognize there is a real threat,” said conference opening speaker Commodore Jamie Clarke, Norad’s deputy director of strategy. “We are defending our entire way of life.” At risk is Canada’s economy and infrastructure, not to mention that of the United States. At the heart of the matter is an outdated detection and deterrence system with no comprehensive replacement in the works.

  • Russia’s Arctic Agenda and the Role of Canada

    April 16, 2020 | Local, Naval

    Russia’s Arctic Agenda and the Role of Canada

    Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 17 Issue: 51 By: Sergey Sukhankin April 15, 2020 05:24 PM Age: 14 mins New research (which includes two articles written by Russian experts) published by the prominent think tank the Canadian Global Affairs Institute has spurred interest and hopes in Russia’s expert community about the possibility of normalizing ties between Russia and Canada through cooperation in the Arctic region (, April 3;, accessed April 12). This cooperation could potentially be premised on two main pillars. First would be the mutual rejection of “internationalization” of the Arctic. Both Canada and Russia—for whom the Arctic region is an issue of foreign policy (, July 1, 2019) —feel ill at ease with the increasing involvement of non-Arctic states in the region, particularly, China. Russian information outlets noted the level of distress when the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon completed its first-ever voyage through the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Canada, accumulating “a wealth of experience for Chinese ships going through the Northwest Passage in the future” (Regnum, September 17, 2017; see EDM, October 3, 2017). Second, Moscow seeks to exploit regional frictions and disagreements between Canada and the United States (, accessed April 10) to boost its own position/influence in the region. Russian sources recall the year 2010, when then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly challenged Canada’s stance on the status of the Northwest Passage, which Ottawa considers part of Canadian territory (, February 20, 2015). In the past, both the Russian tone and general assessment of Canada’s role in the Arctic were denigrating, claiming Ottawa lacked agency. Perhaps the clearest expression of this sentiment came from the director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, who, in 2015, declared that “they [Canada] are only performing the role assigned by the US” (, March 30, 2015). After 2016, however, Russia dramatically changed its coverage of the US-Canadian dispute in the Arctic region, with Moscow increasingly employing reconciliatory rhetoric toward Ottawa and employing ever more assertive public diplomacy tools. One notable example of this new approach is Moscow’s reliance on pro-Russian experts based in Canada. In 2016, speaking in Sochi, on the margins of that year’s Valdai Club session, Professor Piotr Dutkiewicz (a former director of the Institute of European and Russian Studies at Carleton University, in Ottawa) stated, “[T]his area [the Arctic region] will be the first one where we will feel real changes in our relations… Arctic cooperation will become the focal point thanks to which our two sides [Canada and Russia] will be extending their areas of collaboration” (Izvestia, October 28, 2016). Moreover, as repeatedly stated by Federation Council member Igor Chernyshenko (a senator from Murmansk Oblast), the Arctic region could become a “bridge,” helping Canada and Russia overcome the existing difficulties in their bilateral ties. Last May, he announced, “[W]e invited them [the Canadian side] to return to a dialogue. We proposed holding a conference between Russian and Canadian universities in northwest Russia, maybe in Murmansk Oblast. They supported this idea” (TASS, May 25, 2019). Notably, the last such event was held in November 2014, in Canada, hosted by the aforementioned Carleton University. In addition to trying to foster bilateral academic ties, Russia’s outreach to Canada on Arctic issues involves sustained information campaigns via RT and similar multi-language information outlets with international reach. In particular, Russian propaganda narratives routinely overemphasize the extent of current US-Canadian disagreements in the Arctic. At the same time, foreign-audience-facing Kremlin-linked media outlets underscore the allegedly negative role of President Donald Trump (and his policies toward Canada) in aggravating the existing disputes. RT widely claimed that “after Trump’s inauguration, he began pressing Ottawa on economic issues and extended claims on Canadian possessions in the Arctic region.” It also highlighted US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s remarks suggesting that “Russia is not the only country with illegitimate claims [in the Arctic] …the US has a lasting dispute with Canada over its claims on sovereignty over the Northwest Passage. Finally, RT’s propaganda reporting also relied on a statement by Pavel Feldman, the deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts at the Moscow-based Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN). Feldman is quoted as saying, “[T]he US and Canada carry on a heated competition over the Arctic region; yet, publicly, these countries are trying to position themselves as partners” (RT, October 16, 2019). In recent months, this increasing Russian attention to Canada as an Arctic power and a key element of regional stability and order has started to be expressed at the highest levels in Moscow. Poignantly, President Vladimir Putin declared in a public address at the start of this year that Russia “is open to cooperation with Canada on the basis of mutual respect and consideration of each other’s interest.” Putin added, “[O]ur countries are neighbors in the Arctic region and bear joint responsibility for the development of this vast region, for preservation of the traditional lifestyle of its native populations and the careful treatment of its brittle ecosystem” (Vzglyad, February 5, 2020). Such reconciliatory rhetoric should, however, be taken with a heavy dose of caution in Ottawa: from the earliest days of the Soviet Union, Moscow’s stance on the Arctic region has been deliberately flexible and tightly premised on being able to demonstrate its military potential in the High North and to intimidate other regional players. The Russian Federation has increasingly undertaken the same policy course since 2014 (see EDM, April 9). Incidentally, on January 31, 2020, two Russian Tu-160 heavy strategic bombers approached Canadian airspace—maneuvers that the Russian Ministry of Defense explained away as “planned exercises” (, February 3). It is worth pointing out that the US North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is unable to identify and track Russian bombers of this type until they are close enough to launch missiles at targets on the continent. Furthermore, it is worth keeping in mind that, in fact, Russia (not the US) is Canada’s direct competitor when it comes to territorial claims in the Arctic (the Lomonosov Ridge)—a point explicitly corroborated by Russia’s Arktika 2007 expedition, which explored this disputed undersea area and famously planted a Russian flag at the North Pole, on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean (Izvestia, August 3, 2007). Lastly, it may be worth keeping an eye on one of the proposed amendments (soon to be officially adopted) to the Russian Constitution on the “prohibition of actions related to the alienation of Russian territory, or the propaganda thereof” (TASS, February 25). This amendment—reportedly drafted with predominantly Kaliningrad and Vladivostok in mind—is likely to also be applied to some Arctic territories that are of equally strategic interest to Canada.

  • Defence department still wounding anesthetized animals in ‘live tissue training’

    January 8, 2019 | Local, Security

    Defence department still wounding anesthetized animals in ‘live tissue training’

    David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen The Defence Department has cut down on its use of rodents and pigs for research and experiments but says realistic instruction for its medical personnel still requires live animals to be wounded during training and later killed. In 2018 the department used 882 animals, such as mice, rats and pigs, for training and experimentation, down from the 4,000 animals used in 2009, according to figures provided by the Department of National Defence and government records obtained by Postmedia. The animals are used by Defence Research and Development Canada for assessment of emerging chemical and biological threats and by military personnel for what is known as “live tissue training,” according to a 2016 briefing for Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance. In such a scenario the animals are anesthetized and then wounded. Military medical staff treat the wounds in order to gain experience. After the training the animals are killed. “The Department of National Defence currently uses live tissue where necessary to provide advanced military medical training for specific operational requirements,” the department stated in an email to Postmedia. But the DND is trying to reduce the use of animals as much as possible by using different experimental techniques and making use of simulators that can replicate a human patient, according to the 2016 briefing note. That has allowed for the drop to 2,000 animals in 2015 from 4,000 in 2009, the documents noted. “The life-saving experiences, confidence and skills acquired by our young medical technicians using live tissue remain critical components of their curriculum,” Vance was told. Various animal rights groups have been trying over the years to convince the DND and Canadian Forces to stop any kind of testing on animals and to use the simulators instead. The Animal Alliance of Canada has an on-going letter-writing campaign to try to convince Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to put an end to using animals. The organization noted that Canada is one of the few NATO nations that continues to use animals. Most NATO countries are using high-tech simulators which, unlike animals, accurately mimic human physiology and anatomy. In its response to Postmedia the DND stated that it is “actively working to assess and validate the effectiveness of simulation technologies as part of our objective to find equal or superior alternatives to live tissue training in casualty care training.” It noted that Health Canada regulations stipulate that new drugs or medical techniques can’t be used on humans without going through pre-clinical trials “that scientifically test their efficacy and toxicity using non-human models.” The Canadian military has a long history of experimenting on animals, exposing them to various chemical and biological warfare agents and more recently developed weapons. In the 1980s the use of animals became controversial after details of a number of military experiments were made public. Monkeys were used at defence facilities in Suffield, Alta., for experiments involving nerve gas antidotes. In 1983 researchers at the University of Ottawa made headlines after their experiments for the DND on dogs became known. Twenty specifically bred beagles were exposed to high levels of radiation to make them vomit. They were then killed and their organs removed for study. The DND research was aimed at finding a cure for nausea. In 2012, Defence Research and Development Canada subcontracted testing of a new taser projectile to a U.S. university. The projectiles were fired at pigs, according to documents obtained by Postmedia outlining experiments on “conducted energy weapons.” That same year, a study in the journal Military Medicine revealed that Canada was only one of six NATO countries still using animals in its experiments.

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