Defence Minister Peter MacKay's recent written response to questions tabled in Parliament reveal that 2006 federal Conservative promises for 5 Wing Goose Bay are no longer part of the military’s plans.Oh yes, the territorial battalion group promised for St. John's? Just kidding. They will be located, according to MacKay, from Vancouver to Halifax, although I wouldn't be setting up bleachers anytime soon for that one either.
Prior to the election that brought the Tories to power, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to station a new, 650-member rapid reaction army battalion at CFB Goose Bay, plus a new long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron at the base.
Curiously though, MacKay, in attempting to offer yet another excuse for not doing what the Harperites promised to do, (all previous excuses involved Afghanistan and that was the standard excuse for everything that didn't happen CF-wide), shone the light on another program which he has typically covered in mud. JUSTAS.
“As part of the [defence strategy], there will be a surveillance ‘system of systems’ that will be comprised of sensors, unmanned vehicles and satellites that will keep Canada’s maritime approaches safe and secure, including in the Arctic,” MacKay’s response notes.JUSTAS stands for Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System and just so we're clear here, DND has messed that up nicely. Like every other project the Harper government has gotten their fingers into, it has slid well past the delivery date, has been started and restarted several times and has caused potential suppliers to throw their hands in the air, turning away from the project in frustration.