OTTAWA – A new report, released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, calls on the government to replace the Canadian Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) fleet in a timely and objective manner, and proposes that a number of made-in-Canada aircraft be considered to fulfill Canada’s search and rescue requirements, especially on the West Coast.
Search and Replace: The Case for a Made-in-Canada Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Fleet is written by University of British Columbia political science professor Michael Byers, and Stewart Webb, Research Associate at the Salt Spring Forum. It responds to the recent news that Treasury Board has granted “first-phase approval” of $3.8 billion for new search-and-rescue planes.
Requirements for the replacement FWSAR fleet could be drafted this summer, and finalized by the fall.
“It’s important that media attention and public debate begin now, so the requirements do not exclude Canadian-built planes that are proven, affordable and quickly available,” said author Michael Byers.
The authors offer three recommendations for the government as they prepare to address Canada’s FWSAR aircraft:
- The Canadian government should clearly articulate a Statement of Operational Requirements (SOR) for Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue aircraft that recognizes the different requirements on Canada’s West Coast and the necessity of a mixed fleet.
- The Canadian government should ensure the SOR does not preclude consideration of made-in-Canada aircraft.
- The Canadian government should conduct a transparent competition that will provide the Canadian Forces with effective FWSAR aircraft at the best value to Canadians in terms of cost, performance, and jobs.
Most importantly, the authors want to see a clear and open process for acquiring the aircraft. The Statement of Operational Requirements, which outlines the performance specifications that the aircraft must be able to achieve, has never been made public.
“This lack of transparency limits media scrutiny, public debate, and testing of the government’s analysis and accounting,” said Stewart Webb. “We want to avoid another procurement fiasco like the F-35.”
For more information, contact Steven Staples, President, Rideau Institute, 613-565-9449