OTTAWA — The federal government is planning to speed up construction on two new support vessels for the navy in Vancouver — a move that will likely send shockwaves through Quebec.
Sources tell The Canadian Press the government has decided to have Seaspan Marine in Vancouver finish the navy ships before turning to an ocean-science vessel for the coast guard.
That represents a flip in the long-established plan of having Seaspan build the coast-guard science ship before moving onto the support vessels, which are like floating gas stations for the navy.
It's hoped that the decision will result in the support vessels' being delivered earlier than their current 2023 timeline, which would be bad news for Seaspan's rival in Quebec, Davie Shipbuilding.
Davie is leasing one interim support vessel to the navy and the Trudeau government has faced pressure from the Quebec government and federal opposition parties to lease a second.
Proponents have said the second Davie ship is needed because the Vancouver-built vessels won't be ready any time soon — but that argument could be moot under the new schedule.