Ottawa buying 360 London, Ont.-made LAVs from General Dynamics
Defence Minister says $15B contract to build armoured vehicles for the Saudis still 'under review'
The federal government says it will buy 360 LAVs for the Canadian Armed Forces to be made at General Dynamics' London, Ont. plant.
The $3 billion announcement for new vehicles comes on the heels of a $400 million contract for the armoured vehicle maker announced by the Liberal government two years ago, to refurbish the Canadian Army's aging fleet of combat LAVs that have come to be called "the backbone" of Canada's military land operations.
The new London-made LAVs are set to replace obsolete models such as the Buffalo or M113 model armoured vehicles, which, in some cases, are more than three decades old.
The new vehicles will be used by the Canadian Army in a combat support role as field ambulances, logistics and command post vehicles, according to defence minister Harjit Sajjan.
"All our combat LAV vehicles require a logistical support system from ambulances and command posts and this about replacing those older vehicles that have been neglected for a very long time," he said.
$15B Saudi arms deal still 'under review'
Sajjan said the contract will provide job security for thousands of high skilled trades people and assembly line workers who work for General Dynamics and the hundreds of smaller companies who build parts for the armoured vehicle maker.
"These investments go into providing job security," he said.
While the work will help keep London factories and assembly lines humming, there was no update on the review of the largest industrial contract in the city's history, a $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
"It is under review," he said, noting he was unable to provide a timeline for when the review would be complete.
Under the terms of the deal, London, Ont. factories would provide light armoured vehicles to a regime that has been criticized for human rights violations, including gender-based violence.
The controversial arms deal was scaled back in September amid a diplomatic spat between Ottawa and Riyadh over Canada's public criticism of Saudi Arabia for the arrest of women's rights activist Samar Badawi and others.
In response, the Saudis expelled Canada's ambassador, froze trade and investment transactions between the two countries, suspended all Saudi flights to and from Toronto and ordered Saudis attending Canadian schools or receiving medical treatment in Canadian hospitals to return home.
- An earlier version of this article stated "the announcement is part of a $400 million contract announced by the Liberal government two years ago," when it is in fact a $3 billion dollar deal to build 360 new vehicles.Aug 19, 2019 9:29 AM ET