Monday, July 19, 2010

Why not move the Pacific Fleet Base to Prince Rupert

I have been thinking about this for a few months, does it make sense to move the base in Esquimalt to Prince Rupert?

I think that it does.   Here are my top reasons why:

  1. Land in the CRD is very expensive and the Federal government has a lot more capital tied up in land than they need.  They could sell all of the land and facilities, build the equivalent in Prince Rupert and have a lot of money left over.
  2. The CRD has effectively made the inner harbour unworkable for industry, if the base were to leave, there is a whole working harbour space available and with reasonable access to rail
  3. Prince Rupert is suffering as is the whole northwest, moving the base there would make the economy have more stability
  4. The cost of housing is too high here which means people in the navy can not afford to buy houses here.  In Rupert they could afford to buy houses.
  5. CFB Esquimalt adds nothing to NORAD defense of the continent.   Meanwhile there is no US naval base in Alaska, if the Canadian Pacific Fleet were in Rupert it would be better placed to protect the coast
  6. Prince Rupert is significantly closer to Asia and the Bering Sea and therefore the Canadian Navy would need less fuel to get to other locations.
  7. Having a base in Prince Rupert will increase the marine services for everyone, a drydock or two up there would be beneficial.
  8. Victoria has no need of the base for the economy, Prince Rupert really could use it.
  9. A new base would mean well built modern buildings.   The maintenance and heating costs would lower.   The buildings would be constructed to meet the needs of the 21st century navy.

The only arguments I have heard against this is that existing civilian staff would be upset with their jobs moving.   Ultimately this should not be a consideration because we do not operate any part of the government for the purposes of providing employment even if it seems like we do.

The benefits of the move so completely out weigh the downsides.   Just the extra money the Federal government would net through moving the base is a good enough reason on its own to do the move.  You could find a lot of the F-35s with the net proceeds of the move.

Doing this would be a bold move and I think would be politically popular.


Mr Squid said...

It would also make it easier for Canada to defend the AB line, assuming that we ever decide to take that seriously.

Mr Squid said...

It would also make it easier for Canada to defend the AB line, assuming that we ever decide to take that seriously.

David Bratzer said...

Bernard, this is a very, very creative idea. Good for you for thinking big.