9 avril 2020 | Local, Sécurité

Pandemic equipment snarls will rewrite Canada's definition of national security needs, say experts

When every country needs the same stuff to keep people safe, cost arguments seem less convincing

The mad scramble to secure protective medical equipment and ventilators in the midst of a global pandemic has given some of the people who work in the usually tedious world of government procurement an unwelcome excuse to say, "I told you so."

For years, there have been quiet but persistent demands coming out of the defence and acquisition sectors for successive federal governments to develop a list of "strategic industries" that do not have to rely on foreign supply chains — as insurance against the kind of procurement panic in play right now.

Those calls were largely ignored. Now, defence experts are saying the COVID-19 crisis is a costly wake-up call.

Canada needs — and has needed for almost two decades — a 21st century national security industrial plan that focuses on critical equipment and materials that should be produced at home, not abroad.

'Totally negligent'

"We've been totally negligent on that and it is something I have articulated over and over again," said Alan Williams, the former head of the procurement branch at the Department of National Defence.

"It's absolutely critical and if this doesn't wake us to that reality, I don't know what would."

Williams devoted a substantial portion of one of his books, Reinventing Canadian Defence Procurement: A View from the Inside, to the absence of a national security vision of Canadian industry.

"It frankly pisses me off because there's no reason for us not to have done that," he said.

"That should be the kind of thing ministers, the leaders of the country desperately want to do. And why we seem to have avoided that kind of strategic thinking ... It just boggles my mind. It's inexcusable."

'Key' industries geared toward trade, not tragedies

There was a faint glimmer of hope in the initial debate over the National Shipbuilding Strategy a decade ago, when the former Conservative government made a conscious decision to build future warships, Canadian Coast Guard and fisheries vessels in Canada, instead of outsourcing the work to other countries.

At least in the context of defence procurement, Canada does have what are known as "key industrial capabilities", including shipbuilding, the production of certain types of ammunition and the construction of a range of aerospace and maritime electronic systems.

Much of the work of those "key" domestic industries is, however, geared toward making high-end components for global supply chains. Critics have often said the policy focuses on high-tech innovation and business priorities, rather than hard-headed national security interests.

Other countries, Williams said, have carved out a space for national security interests in industrial policy by not allowing other countries to build certain pieces of equipment. The Japanese, for example, have retained the capability to assemble their own warplanes.

A shift in thinking

The COVID-19 crisis, which has uncovered a potentially deadly shortage of ventilators and protective equipment for medical professionals, will push the federal government into a radical re-evaluation of what we need to be able to build at home to protect the country.

In some respects, that work has already started.

Earlier this week, reflecting on the Trump administration's moves to restrict exports of protective equipment, Ontario Premier Doug Ford expressed dismay over how the fate of so many Canadians had been taken out of the hands of the federal and provincial governments.

"I am just so, so disappointed right now," he said. "We have a great relationship with the U.S. and all of a sudden they pull these shenanigans. But as I said yesterday, we will never rely on any other country going forward."

Over the past two weeks, the federal government has announced plans to pour more than $2 billion into sourcing and acquiring protective medical equipment — masks, gowns, face shields, hand sanitizer — at home. On Tuesday, Ottawa unveiled a plan to get three Canadian companies to build 30,000 ventilators.

Health equipment may have been outside the normal definition of national security needs until just a few weeks ago — but the shifting geopolitical landscape offered another warning sign that was ignored, said procurement expert Dave Perry.

Leaning on China

"This is pointing out the flip side of our globalized world and globalized supply chains," said Perry, an analyst and vice president at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "The cold, hard truth is that we're going to be relying on China for critical supplies."

When the coronavirus outbreak ramped up, federal officials should have been aware of the potential peril involved in relying on Chinese factories for so many critical items.

But in the absence of homegrown capability, Canada is at the mercy of panicked nations in the midst of panicked buying.

"The entire world is trying to put through orders from the same sets of factories we're trying to source from," Perry said.

"It might be accurate to criticize the Chinese for their response, but in the current context the government has to be cognizant of the impact on our potential ability to source stuff we really, really need right now from China — when there's not a lot of other options available in the short term and when the rest of the world is making the same phone calls."

 

One of the critical arguments against a homegrown national security industrial strategy has been the cost. It's an argument familiar from the shipbuilding context: taxpayers pay a premium when we task Canadian industry with delivering solutions, instead of turning to cheaper foreign manufacturers.

Elinor Sloan, a defence policy expert at Carleton University, said she believes the crisis will focus the public's attention on securing the critical industries and supplies the country needs in a global crisis.

"The trade-off, as we know, is that it can be more costly to build or produce at home," she said. "This crisis may engender a perspective among the public that the extra cost is worth it."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pandemic-covid-coronavirus-procurement-masks-ventilators-1.5525373

Sur le même sujet

  • 20 M$ de financement disponibles pour les prototypes innovants

    18 janvier 2021 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    20 M$ de financement disponibles pour les prototypes innovants

      Volet mise à l’essai maintenant ouvert Nous sommes heureux d'annoncer que notre volet mise à l’essai accepte maintenant les candidatures. Nous disposons d'un budget de 20 millions de dollars pour tester vos innovations pré-commerciales en phase finale dans des conditions réelles avec des partenaires gouvernementaux. Vous pouvez recevoir jusqu'à 550 000 dollars pour tester votre innovation standard (non militaire), ou jusqu'à 1,15 million de dollars pour tester votre innovation militaire. Cet appel à propositions du volet mise à l’essai se termine le 5 février 2021 à 14h HNE. En savoir plus   Qui est admissible ? Nous recherchons des produits et services innovants aux niveaux de maturité technologique (NMT) 7 à 9. Nous avons lancé deux appels à propositions simultanés pour les : PME canadiennes Non-PME : un propriétaire unique, un individu, une grande entreprise, un organisme à but non lucratif ou une institution universitaire Lisez tous les critères d'éligibilité ici.   Ventes directes pour les PME Nous introduisons une nouvelle fonctionnalité du programme pour les PME ! Les PME qui réalisent un premier contrat de test peuvent être admissibles à notre liste de sources d'innovation. Les PME qui se qualifient pour notre liste de sources d'innovation: seront admissibles à vendre au gouvernement du Canada sans autre concurrence pendant une période de 3 ans  seront admissibles pour des contrats supplémentaires (jusqu'à un maximum de 8 millions de dollars par contrat)   Visitez notre site web pour tous les détails concernant les appels à propositions du volet mise à l’essai. 

  • The List: Here are the weapons identified as prohibited in Canada

    4 mai 2020 | Local, Terrestre

    The List: Here are the weapons identified as prohibited in Canada

    SaltWire Network Published: May 01 at 2:43 p.m. Updated: May 01 at 3:18 p.m   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday the addition of "assault-style" weapons to the list of prohibited Firearms in Canada. Here are the updated sections of federal firearms regulations. 83 The firearms of the designs commonly known as the SG-550 rifle and SG-551 carbine, and any variants or modified versions of them, including the SAN Swiss Arms (a) Aestas; (b) Autumnus; (c) Black Special; (d) Black Special Carbine; (e) Black Special CQB; (f) Black Special Target; (g) Blue Star; (h) Classic Green; (i) Classic Green Carbine; (j) Classic Green CQB; (k) Classic Green Sniper; (l) Heavy Metal; (m) Hiemis; (n) Red Devil; (o) Swiss Arms Edition; and (p) Ver. The entire list : https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/canada/the-list-here-are-the-weapons-identified-as-prohibited-in-canada-444750/

  • Canada to deploy cargo plane part time for UN missions in new year

    24 décembre 2018 | Local, Aérospatial

    Canada to deploy cargo plane part time for UN missions in new year

    Murray Brewster · CBC News A Canadian military Hercules transport will soon begin once-a-week support missions for United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, the country's top military commander said. Those flights, by a C-130J, will eventually morph to a full-fledged deployment and deliver on the second in a long list of capabilities promised over a year ago by the Liberal government at a star-studded international conference in Vancouver. Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, refused to be pinned down to a specific date when asked in a year-end interview with CBC News. His remarks were made prior to last weekend's quick, clandestine trip by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit Canadian aircrew and personnel taking part in the UN mission in Mali. 'This hasn't been done before' The aircraft being used will split its time between supporting operations in Iraq and flying out Entebbe, Uganda, for the UN. A letter to assist, which sets out the terms of the arrangement with the UN, has yet to be finalized and Vance defended the amount of time it has taken to fulfil what was expected to be an easy promise. "This hasn't been done before," he said. "It's pretty new. This is Canada offering up a capability where there wasn't necessarily a capability before." Usually as peace support operations unfold the UN makes requests for specific military equipment and personnel. But with the medium-lift cargo plane, Vance said, Canadian planners pointed out to the UN the need for an aircraft to support operations in Africa. "There's always need for air power," he said. There has been frustration with Canada at UN headquarters in New York. After many lofty, high-profile words of political support, the Liberal government has over the last three years turned down a number of specific peacekeeping requests, including mission command posts. A copy of the 2017 list of requests for multilateral peace operations — known internally within government as the evergreen list — was obtained by CBC News under access-to-information legislation. It shows that after being spurned throughout 2016 the UN appeared to scale back what it asked of Canada to only a handful of assignments involving single soldiers or pairs of soldiers, for leadership training or advising missions. Trudeau touts Mali mission as success Over the weekend in Mali, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to extend the anticipated mid-summer end of Canada's helicopter support mission in the war-torn country. The UN requested the time to cover an anticipated gap between the current detachment and the arrival of the Romanian relief force. He declared the Mali mission to be a success and even suggested it was contributing to the peace process in that country by giving UN operations more certainty. Canada's approach of sharing its expertise and refined equipment is, Trudeau insisted, the best approach. "Part of the way Canada can best help involves coming, taking on an operation, demonstrating how it can be done in the absolute best possible way and helping others gain in those capacities," he said while answering questions from reporters on Saturday. Even still, there remains a long list of unfulfilled promises to the UN, said Walter Dorn, a professor of defence studies at the Canadian Forces College. At the Vancouver conference, the Liberal government promised to deliver a quick reaction force of 200 soldiers for a future peacekeeping mission as well as military training for other less experienced countries that contribute to operations. It also pledged to help get more women involved in peacekeeping through a measure known as the Elsie Initiative. That, Dorn said, is "inching along," with two partner countries, Ghana and Zambia, selected earlier this year, "but I haven't heard of actual progress." Vance said he is working with a three-to-five year timeline, and the initiatives promised in Vancouver were not intended to be delivered all at once. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-to-deploy-cargo-plane-part-time-for-un-missions-in-new-year-1.4958079

Toutes les nouvelles