Several events in recent memory have shown that the Canadian military does not possess the capability to deploy military and humanitarian assistance without relying on external contractors. This delays response time, weakens the credibility of the Canadian Forces and hurts the international image of Canada.
- A Green Party of Canada government will provide capital and ongoing targeted funding to acquire and operate a limited number of heavy airlift aircraft. These aircraft will be tasked with transporting assets such as the DART or operational deployments in support of the Canadian Forces and other Government of Canada departments.
- A Green Party of Canada government will fund the acquisition of two bulk container ships outfitted with a limited capability to act as a hospital in order to provide the Canadian Forces with the capabilities to deploy assets and supplies into theaters of operation, to help deliver humanitarian assistance in times of need both domestically and internationally and to act as a basic hospital facility during times of disaster or in support of Canadian Forces operations. The ships will also be used to assist recognized NGO's to deliver ongoing humanitarian supplies when not required for use by the Government of Canada directly.
During a major international relief effort such as the Tsunami in South-East Asia, the availability of large air transport assets becomes severely limited. As a result, assets such as the Disaster Assistance Response Team are not able to deploy quickly given the lack of a heavy airlift capability. In fact, it was only after the chartering of an Antanov AN-120 from a Ukrainian company that the DART was able to deploy to South-East Asia. Had the decision been made to deploy the DART in the days following the Tsunami crisis, it is highly likely that such an aircraft would not have been available. Domestic disaster relief operations would also be improved with a heavy airlift capability.
Retrofitting current aircraft such as the CC-130 could not give the required range or payload due to airframe restrictions. As a result, this capability could only be achieved through the purchase of new aircraft. With Anatanov recently announcing plans to begin construction on new AN-120's, this aircraft could become available on the world market. Boeing currently manufactures the C-17 which would have the advantage of possible job creation in Canada while the Airbus A380 would give an aircraft that could readily accommodate both cargo and passengers. Also with the introduction of the A380, it is probable that used B747F cargo aircraft would become more readily available and could serve as a less expensive aircraft to acquire and operate in comparison to the C-17 and AN-120.
In August of 2000, the GTS Katie had to be boarded in order to "liberate" $223 million of CF equipment and three CF members due to a contract dispute. The ship was carrying equipment from a Canadian operation in Kosovo. According to the Department of National Defence, the repatriation of the equipment was essential to ensure Canadian sovereignty.source The fact that so much vital equipment could be held hostage by a contract dispute is incomprehensible.
Realistically, the CF only needs one or two cargo/hospital vessels. They would essentially be unarmed and equipped with helicopter infrastructure to facilitate in the transfer of equipment where port facilities are not available. This capability could not only be used to support military deployments but could be used to transport humanitarian aid for CIDA or NGO's when not required for usage by the Canadian military. In essence, this capability would allow the Canadian government to not only deploy Canadian military assets to any port in the world, it would also allow for a capability to provide humanitarian and medical assistance at a more cost effective level.
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