Skip to main content

A Canadian army truck loaded with school supplies is overrun by children at Camp Shirzai in Kandahar on Jan. 18, 2007.

MURRAY BREWSTER/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian Army has parked some of its big trucks and smaller transports to save money.

Defence sources say the decision affects up to half the army's so-called B-fleet, including heavy and medium trucks used to transport troops and equipment, as well as support vehicles, such as ambulances.

Military records indicate there are a total of some 6,800 trucks among the affected fleets.

Story continues below advertisement

National Defence confirms the move, but an official says it involves vehicles too expensive to maintain and due to be replaced. The spokesman would not say how many vehicles were being mothballed.

The sources say the commander of the army, Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, presented the strategy at recent command council meeting.

The savings are apparently being plowed back into keeping the army's fleet of armoured vehicles, including Leopard 2 tanks and light armoured vehicles, on the road.

Since the end of the Afghan war, the army has seen cuts to its budget of up to 22 per cent. The decision has left commanders trying to figure out how to maintain a high-level of training and readiness.

It also comes as the federal government wrestles with the idea of spending $2.1-billion on a new fleet of close-combat vehicles – a decision made more complicated by the concerns within the army that it can't afford to drive and maintain them.

Army officials decline to say what the impact of the order might be. Although it is widely anticipated that soldiers, who would normally be driven to training areas and exercises, will now have to march.

Army spokesman Doug Drever painted the decision to take the trucks off the road as part of the normal financial-management process where available funds are "reallocated to higher priorities."

Story continues below advertisement

Most of the army's trucks are between 20 and 30 years old.

"A number of the Canadian Army logistic support vehicles are nearing the end of their life expectancy and are growing more expensive to maintain," Mr. Drever said in an e-mail.

"With the end of the mission in Afghanistan, reduced operational demands on the Canadian Army and being in a time of financial restraint it is prudent that we do not spend significant amounts of money to repair certain aging vehicles when we know we will need to transition to new ones before too long."

Mechanics have been asked to assess each vehicle, and those in the need of the most upkeep will be parked and cannibalized for parts.

Mr. Drever says essential medium-sized vehicles, such as ambulances and communications trucks, will be retained.

The Conservative government has long promised to buy new trucks for the army.

Story continues below advertisement

The medium support vehicle system program was first conceived in 2006 as an "urgent requirement," but it took two years before defence companies were asked whether they were interested in bidding on the $430-million program.

Planning was still stalled in 2011 when Public Works was forced to adjust the requirements. In 2012, the Conservatives shut it down altogether and started anew.

Some defence publications have suggested the military won't able to conduct large-scale deployments overseas until it gets new trucks.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies