12 février 2018 | Local, Aérospatial

La quadrature du cercle de Trudeau

ÉDITORIAL / Gouverner, c'est choisir. Ça ne fait pas que des heureux. Ça commence à donner des soucis à Justin Trudeau. Il n'y a pas d'issue facile à certains des litiges auxquels son gouvernement est confronté. L'exercice du pouvoir nourrit les rangs des mécontents ; à un moment donné, ils deviennent assez nombreux pour vous battre aux élections. Les libéraux n'en sont pas encore là, mais le premier ministre doit faire attention à l'accumulation d'accusations contre son gouvernement.

Hier, le Canada a vu un contrat de 233 millions $ lui filer entre les doigts ; les Philippines ont annulé l'achat de 16 hélicoptères de l'usine québécoise Bell Helicopter. Ottawa hésitait à les vendre au régime de Manille qui s'en servirait pour mater des mouvements terroristes. Quand le président Rodrigo Duterte, un adepte de la ligne dure, a senti les craintes du Canada, il a demandé à ses dirigeants militaires de rompre l'entente et de trouver un autre fournisseur.

Ces questions de principe sont difficiles à arbitrer. D'un côté, cette vente aurait assuré du travail à 900 personnes à Mirabel.

Les Canadiens ignorent l'importance du commerce des armes au pays. Il fournit de l'emploi à plus de 100 000 travailleurs au pays et discrètement, le Canada s'est faufilé parmi les 10 premiers exportateurs au monde. C'est que les statistiques officielles ne disent pas tout. Une part des ventes consiste en des équipements d'appoint ou technologique. Ainsi, le Canada a déjà vendu des hélicos à la Colombie pour sa lutte contre des groupes révolutionnaires, mais seulement après avoir été modifiés. Ainsi, la vente n'apparaissait pas publiquement comme une de type militaire, même si c'était un secret de Polichinelle.

Une autre transaction du genre, avec l'Arabie saoudite, continue de faire couler l'encre. Sous les conservateurs de Stephen Harper, Ottawa a permis en 2014 la vente de tanks légers pour 15 milliards $ et assurent de l'emploi à 3000 personnes de General Dynamics à Newmarket. En campagne électorale, M. Trudeau a diminué la portée de l'affaire, arguant que le Canada vendait « des Jeeps ». Mais personne ne reconnaîtrait un Jeep devant une photo de ces tanks légers, mais lourdement armés.

Des organisations comme Amnesty International font pression contre ce contrat parce que selon leurs prétentions, le régime de Riyad se servirait de ces véhicules pour réprimer sa minorité chiite. La ministre des Affaires globales, Chrystia Freeland, a soutenu hier que des preuves vidéo de 2016 n'étaient pas concluantes, sans rendre public le rapport à cet effet.

Les « Jeeps » de Justin Trudeau, puis cette vente avortée d'hélicoptères aux Philippines : le Canada est-il trop vertueux ? Se met-il la tête dans le sable ?

Différents sondages indiquent que la population est partagée.

Ajoutons au dossier l'approbation du pipeline Kinder Morgan entre l'Alberta et la Colombie-Britannique. Difficile de réconcilier les prétentions vertes du gouvernement Trudeau et le feu vert qu'il offre aux oléoducs...

Comment rétablir la quadrature du cercle ? En fait, c'est impossible. Ottawa doit arbitrer entre les intérêts des uns et des autres, d'une province contre l'autre, d'une question de principe contre des emplois et une économie florissante. Les conservateurs penchaient systématiquement pour l'économie. Ils pratiquaient une forme d'aveuglement volontaire. Quant aux libéraux..., au moins disent-ils avoir soupesé le tout ; croyons-les sur parole, jusqu'à preuve du contraire. Parfois, les circonstances peuvent faire pencher d'un côté ou de l'autre. C'est l'arbitrage difficile du pouvoir.

https://www.ledroit.com/opinions/pierre-jury/la-quadrature-du-cercle-de-trudeau-feba1bdc2307d1b066a537683911da28

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It could be 2023 before construction actually gets underway at the go-to yard for warships — Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax. But finally pulling the trigger on a designer is a "huge step," Dave Perry, an Ottawa-based procurement specialist at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said in an interview with CBC's Power & Politics. "There's a huge degree of interest in having this done by the spring, and certainly before the next election." Perry said the importance of this order should not be underestimated, as the new ships will provide the navy with the bulk of its ocean-going fleet — vessels that can be used in war, to protect trade routes or to deliver humanitarian aid. "They can basically do anything the government wants them to do," he said. Perry said the $60-billion contract to build the frigates will be a major boon for the Halifax shipyard in particular. "When the economic impact starts spinning, it's really going to be meaningful," he said. André Fillion, the assistant deputy minister of defence and marine procurement at Public Services and Procurement Canada, said if the federal government is not satisfied that the top bidder can deliver, it will open negotiations with the second-place team of companies. Alion Science and Technology, along with its subsidiary Alion Canada, had submitted their proposal based on the Dutch De Zeven Provinciën Air Defence and Command (LCF) frigate. Navantia, a Spanish-based company, headed a team that included Saab and CEA Technologies. Its proposal was based on the F-105 frigate design, a ship in service with the Spanish navy. "The former naval officer in me is very excited," said Pat Finn, a retired rear admiral who heads up the Department of National Defence's material branch. "I've been around this for a long time." Fillion would not say which aspect of the "due diligence assessment" will be the toughest to overcome. Prior to asking for ship design bids, federal procurement officials spent a lot of time dealing with issues related to intellectual property on the complex systems that will be put into the new warships. Obtaining the necessary clearances is essential in order for the federal government to be able to maintain the vessels in the future. Failure to do so could cost taxpayers untold tens of millions of dollars — perhaps hundreds of millions — over the five decades the ships are expected to be in service. Some design changes are expected after the federal government selects an official winner and a contract is in place. How many changes will be required is a critical question; Finn would only say he doesn't anticipate cutting steel on the new warships for up to four years. That fuzzy timeline means the program is already months behind schedule. The design competition was launched almost two years ago, when the Liberal government said selecting a foreign, off-the-shelf design would be cheaper and faster than building a warship from scratch. Finn acknowledged there will be a production gap at the Irving yard in Halifax of about 18 months between construction of the navy's Arctic offshore patrol ships and the frigate replacements. He added, however, that the federal government is looking at a variety of options to keep the yard humming, including refit work on the existing frigates and possibly building an additional patrol ship, or ships. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/lockheed-martin-selected-as-preferred-designer-for-canada-s-next-generation-of-warships-1.4869268

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