MacKay promises supply ships despite budget officer's report
Parliamentary budget officer says $1.5B more needed in budget to replace ships
Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the navy will get the supply ships it needs, despite a parliamentary budget officer's report that shows the government has not set aside enough cash to build them.
MacKay would not indicate whether he'll ask the federal cabinet for more money.
In a report Thursday, budget officer Kevin Page said if the government sticks to the $2.6-billion budget, it will have to strip out capabilities from the ship design, which has already been downgraded once.
Page estimated replacing the existing replenishment ships — HMCS Preserver and HMCS Protecteur — would cost about $3.2 billion, but that the budget should be set at $4.1 billion because the Canadian industry has no recent experience building similar vessels.
Federal officials have said the ship's design will undergo a costing review, perhaps later this year.
MacKay says he'll study the advice, but insisted new ships will either "match or surpass" the current vessels.