Job cuts predicted if navy moves east

Politicians vow to swamp navy’s Halifax proposal

HMCS Regina pulls out of CFB Esquimalt’s dock in a major 2008 deployment

Reaction to talks of moving Pacific fleet command from CFB Esquimalt to Halifax was swift from the federal campaign trail last week.

The Conservative and NDP camps have vowed, if elected, to not centralize control of Canadian naval ships on the East Coast, even as the navy forges ahead with identifying ways to reorganize itself for efficiency and cost savings.

“If re-elected, our government will not be taking this action. I will not allow this move,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement last Thursday. “The command and control of the Pacific fleet will stay in the Pacific, at Esquimalt.”

“Does that mean not one job is going to go from Esquimalt east?” said Alex Morrison, defence expert and Royal Roads University associate professor. “Does that mean not one ship is going to be transferred from Esquimalt to Halifax?

“Those are the detailed questions that need to be asked now and after the election is over.”

If command of naval ships at CFB Esquimalt were shuttled to Halifax, as it was in the 1980s, the fallout would be disastrous, according to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. It could eventually mean job losses at the base and fewer naval ships on the West Coast, as well as hindering West Coast trading strength, said chamber CEO Bruce Carter.

“The management focus will be on the Halifax operations in the Atlantic, which means more resources, more ships, perhaps more operational dollars, more fuel and less of everything here, because it’s not front of mind,” said Carter, a former military member. “We have seen that repeatedly with corporate takeovers and I don’t think this will be any different.”

Union reps for base civilian infrastructure and ship maintenance workers have known of the naval reorganization since last year, but were assured their workers wouldn’t be impacted by fleet command changes.

“Essentially, what they’re shooting for as the defence dollar gets tighter (is) they want to ensure that they’re spending the money the best way possible,” said Mark Miller, B.C vice-president of the Union of National Defence Employees, which represents 1,200 of the 2,000 civilians at CFB Esquimalt.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Langford has ‘no plans’ to make changes to Western Speedway after noise complaints

Flyer passed out to residents voices concerns over racetrack noise

Victoria teen killed while on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

UPDATE: Firefighters bring Sooke wildfire under control

Firefighters have a wildfire that burned an area about 100x150 feet at… Continue reading

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read