Author Topic: JUSTAS: the project to buy armed Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs  (Read 111836 times)

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Offline Dimsum

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The link to the NATO AGS website doesn't list Canada as one of the participating members in the program.  It would have been nice; Italy would have been a great posting   :nod:
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Baz

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The link to the NATO AGS website doesn't list Canada as one of the participating members in the program.  It would have been nice; Italy would have been a great posting   :nod:

Canada withdrew as a procuring Nation over a year ago, with a penalty payment to leave.  As part of the negotiations the Canadian company participation was kept.

Currently Denmark and Poland are looking to get in.

However, Operations of AGS are comon funded, that means all 28 NATO Nations will pay for it (including Canada) and are eligible to send military pers to the force.  France and the UK have elected to provide Contributions In Kind instead: providing NATO an "equivalent" platform with the right number of flying hours instead of paying into the ops.

Right now Canada has no intention to put people in Sig; however Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) (and Targeting) are big deals in NATO, coming out of OUP (there were plenty of fighters to drop things but the Targeting Cycle was a skeleton), as reinforced by the Chicago summit.  Anyone that did go into Sig would be isolated post; the original plan was 56 plus support but that isn't happening.

The hardest spots to fill will be ISR: Intelligence Analysts, espicially Imagery Analysts; and Surveillance Operators: ACSOs, MARS and NCIOps, AWCs and ACOps, and Combat Arms with TOC experience.  There may be some space for AESOPs, not on the ISR crew but the flight crew, but the sensor operator position is still under discussion; becuase it is a SAR/GMTI radar it is possible to automate the management of the collection deck.

Online Chris Pook

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Does Canada's position have anything to do with the national domestic requirement for these types of systems?

The European partners seem to be focusing on supplying these for expeditionary applications.  In fact with the high population density, tight borders and crowded airspace they can't fly these things domestically unless WWIII or another Icelandic volcano grounds all civilian air traffic (check on the German Minister of Defence's travails over his UAV project).

It seems to me that Canada is better off keeping its bucks in its back pocket and using them to procure its own national UAV fleet, which can be used both domestically and internationally, at the government's discretion, than it is throwing them into a pool that may never permit them to be used over Canada.

Of course this assumes that Canada can get its procurement act together and actually buy stuff it needs in a timely fashion at a reasonable price.
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Offline Canadian.Trucker

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Of course this assumes that Canada can get its procurement act together and actually buy stuff it needs in a timely fashion at a reasonable price.
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Offline Dimsum

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The European partners seem to be focusing on supplying these for expeditionary applications.  In fact with the high population density, tight borders and crowded airspace they can't fly these things domestically unless WWIII or another Icelandic volcano grounds all civilian air traffic (check on the German Minister of Defence's travails over his UAV project.)

There was an article a few months back regarding the first test of TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems) between an UAV and a manned airplane (airliner size, I think).  It was done over Spanish airspace and not surprisingly, it worked out perfectly.

I wouldn't be surprised that once the FAA opens American domestic airspace for UAVs in 2015, EUROCONTROL will do the same for Europe.  Then, hopefully Canada, etc. will follow suit.*

* Is it still "tell a joke Thursday"?   :D
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Dimsum

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Bumping this thread:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/somnia/article20088860/

Quote
The Canadian military’s almost decade-long quest to buy unmanned aerial vehicles has been partly hung up by an internal debate about whether the air forces needs one — or two — different fleets of drones.

Sigh.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline jeffb

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Offline Dimsum

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Bumping an old thread, by Terry Glavin in Maclean's:

Quote
It was an otherwise utterly unremarkable thing for Canada’s chief of the defence staff to say out loud: we’d like some drones, please, and the ones with the capability of carrying precision-guided munitions would be best. That’s pretty well all Gen. Jonathan Vance mentioned, almost in passing, when he appeared last week at a Senate defence committee meeting. What’s remarkable is that Vance’s comments were taken in some quarters as the raising of a curtain on a stirring debate about a “controversial” subject.

Why all the angst?

Remotely operated aircraft have been on the Canadian Forces’ wish list since the 1990s. Trials of a variety of drone prototypes began at the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre in 2002. During the Afghanistan mission, the Canadian Forces leased two types of long-range drones for surveillance purposes, and from time to time called in for help from missile-bearing American drones. As far back as 2008, the Canadian Forces brass was explicit: drones with “all-weather precision strike capabilities” were a “requirement” for Canada’s overseas operations.

Nobody is proposing a covert black-ops assassination program here. This isn’t about weaponizing space and we’re not being lured by the military-industrial complex into some sinister high-tech arms intrigue. During last year’s election campaign, Justin Trudeau promised to look for a cheaper alternative to the Conservatives’ closed-bid, $44-billion, 40-year F-35 jet purchase. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is in the early innings of a full defence policy review, and it logically follows that the little remotely operated airplanes Trudeau promised to acquire for a “leaner, more agile, better-equipped military” might sensibly come geared to pack “smart” bombs.

Several European NATO countries have already acquired weapons-capable drones, and so have NATO’s adversaries. Even Iran’s Lebanese proxy terror group Hezbollah was using drones to drop bombs in Syria two years ago. Let’s be cautious, surely. But do we really need to go into group therapy about this?

It’s true that since 9/11, the application of conventional military rules of engagement has gotten a bit foggy. The Taliban were not an “enemy state” but the Canadian Forces conducted its operations in Afghanistan as though the rules of war applied anyway. We are now at war with Daesh, also known as the Islamic State, but at the same time we’re still not legally in a “state of war.” With the tripling of our Special Operations contingent in northern Iraq in tandem with the withdrawal of the six CF-18s the Conservatives sent in, Canada is still very much in the thick of the fighting. But Gen. Vance insists that the Canadian Forces’ new contribution no longer amounts to a “combat mission.”

It can all get a bit esoteric, but there’s no need for Canadians to over-complicate what should be a fairly straightforward assessment of the cost-benefit merits of acquiring drones equipped with a payload capacity. It’s not that complicated: “They’re just not fighter jets. They’re basically a different type of aircraft that can be used to carry precision-guided weapons into a combat environment,” Mark Collins, a fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, told me. The same kinds of rules and ethical considerations apply fairly seamlessly. Said Gen. Vance: “In my view there’s little point to having a [drone] that can see a danger but can’t strike it.”

But here’s where legitimate concerns about drones can give way to outright paranoia.

Armed drones have become Barack Obama’s way to engage in terrorist-infested hellholes without putting “boots on the ground.” For years, the CIA has been running a secrecy-shrouded program of targeted killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, and more recently in Somalia, Syria and Iraq. Because it’s a covert program, it’s against the law for American officials to talk about it.

Civilian-casualty estimates are usually ballpark and often wildly exaggerated. Congressional oversight has been a farce. A push to completely shift the shabby command-and-control lines out of the CIA and into the Defence Department fell apart three years ago, owing to the usual Washington turf battles and congressional brinksmanship.

That’s not quite how things work in Canada, and there’s little evidence that Canada’s new government is favourably disposed to top-secret overseas assassination boondoggles.

Every couple of years, the subject of Canada acquiring drones comes up again and there’s always the same scary background music. The drones the Canadian Forces are looking for are mostly for surveillance and reconnaissance along our borders and coasts anyway. If it’s really a go this time, no purchase contract is expected before 2020. Delivery isn’t anticipated until 2025.

There’s no reason to be wringing our hands about this. There never was.


http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/we-need-to-strop-wringing-our-hands-over-armed-drones/

I've never understood the paranoia about armed RPAs as opposed to manned armed aircraft.  Sensors and weapons are similar, and I suppose if people are scared of a constantly-watching camera on them, the effect of an RPA or something like an Aurora would be the same (endurance/armament issues notwithstanding). 

The media has noted that US has used them in "targeted assassinations" whether flown by the military or other agencies, but it's just another tool in the toolbox they could have used.  Would the same outrage happen if the CIA used F-15s instead?  Would the media then try to ban strike aircraft?
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline MarkOttawa

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Holy spook, Covertman!  The CIA has F-15s ;)!

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Offline Thucydides

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Somewhat tangental, DARPA tests a very long endurance UAV powered by a diesel engine. Something with this sort of endurance would certainly have lots of applications where persistence is valued:

http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2017-01-04

Quote
Setting World Endurance Record, Vanilla Aircraft Proves to be Anything but Plain
Small diesel-powered unmanned airplane pushes the envelope for low-cost, long-range, persistent flight

OUTREACH@DARPA.MIL
1/4/2017
Image Caption: The Vanilla Aircraft VA001, a small diesel-powered airplane under development through DARPA (left), flew for 56 hours recently over Las Cruces, New Mexico (right), setting a new world record for flight duration for its weight class. The airplane is designed to ultimately carry a 30-pound payload at 15,000 feet for up to 10 days without refueling. Click below for high-resolution image.

A DARPA-backed small business effort broke boundaries for long-endurance flight this month by launching a uniquely designed, combustion-powered unmanned aircraft that stayed aloft for more than two days and two nights. The flight was terminated several days ahead of schedule because of incoming weather. But the craft—built by Vanilla Aircraft of Falls Church, Virginia—landed safely with more than half its fuel still onboard, suggesting it is capable of setting additional records for powered flight in its weight and power class and could ultimately offer important new capabilities to ground forces and others.

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are an increasingly important means for military forces—especially small dismounted units—to bring extra communications or intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the field. Current designs, however, offer relatively limited range and flight endurance; additionally, their need for frequent refueling, specialized launch and recovery equipment, and regular maintenance often limit them to flying from fixed bases close to the front lines. Vanilla’s propeller-driven VA001 is designed to carry a 30-pound payload at 15,000 feet for up to 10 days without refueling.

The VA001 started its historic flight on the morning of November 30, 2016 at New Mexico State University’s Unmanned Air Systems Flight Test Center near Las Cruces International Airport. For nearly 56 hours, the plane flew at an altitude between 6,500 feet and 7,500 feet above sea level, averaging 57 knots before landing on the afternoon of December 2.

A representative from the National Aeronautic Association—the organization that verifies and tracks flight-related world records—certified the flight as achieving the world duration record for combustion-powered UAVs in the 50 kg-500 kg subclass (FAI Class U-1.c Group 1). Moreover, the flight was the fourth-longest for any unmanned airplane and the 11th-longest for an airplane of any type (manned or unmanned, solar or fuel-powered).

“This record-breaking flight demonstrated the feasibility of designing a low-cost UAV able to take off from one side of a continent, fly to the other, perform its duties for a week, and come back—all on the same tank of fuel,” said Jean-Charles Ledé, DARPA program manager. “This capability would help extend the footprint of small units by providing scalable, persistent UAV-based communications and ISR coverage without forward basing, thereby reducing personnel and operating costs. We’re very pleased with what the Vanilla team has accomplished.”

Image Caption: The Vanilla Aircraft VA001, a small diesel-powered airplane under development through DARPA (left), flew for 56 hours recently over Las Cruces, New Mexico (right), setting a new world record for flight duration for its weight class. The airplane is designed to ultimately carry a 30-pound payload at 15,000 feet for up to 10 days without refueling. Click below for high-resolution image.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Dimsum

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Terminology changes, mostly changing "UAV" to "RPA", but also that JUSTAS isn't totally dead.

Quote
UNCLAS
CANFORGEN 082/17 C AIR FORCE 15/17
SIC WAA
BILINGUAL MESSAGE/MESSAGE BILINGUE
SUBJ: UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (UAS) TERMINOLOGY
REFS: A. CANFORGEN 080/15 C AIR FORCE 13/15 231956Z APR 15
IMPLEMENTATION OF NATO UAS CLASSIFICATION TABLE
B. NATO STANDARD ATP-3.3.7, GUIDANCE FOR THE TRAINING OF UNMANNED
AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS) OPERATORS, EDITION B, VERSION 1, APRIL 2014
1. AS DIRECTED BY THE CAF AIRWORTHINESS AUTHORITY AT REF A, THE CAF
ADOPTED THE NATO UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS) CLASSIFICATION
TABLE (REF B). THIS TABLE IDENTIFIES THREE DISTINCT CLASSES OF UAS.
WHILE THESE CLASSES ARE DEFINED BY SIZE AND WEIGHT, CLASS III UAS
ARE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE CAPABLE AND, UNLIKE CURRENT CLASS I AND II,
ARE INTENDED TO OPERATE IN MORE COMPLEX AIR ENVIRONMENTS SUCH AS
NON-SEGREGATED AIRSPACE
2. NATO AND OTHER ALLIES HAVE ADOPTED A NEW LEXICON. THE TERMS UAV
AND DRONE ARE OBSOLETE. THE SPECIALISED TERMS, REMOTELY PILOTED
AIRCRAFT (RPA) AND REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (RPAS), ARE NOW
USED AS A SUBSET OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT (UA) AND UAS RESPECTIVELY TO
DESCRIBE THE LARGER MORE CAPABLE CLASS III SYSTEMS SUCH AS GLOBAL
HAWK, PREDATOR B, AND HERON TP. THE RCAF JOINT UNMANNED SURVEILLANCE
AND TARGET ACQUISITION SYSTEM (JUSTAS) PROJECT WILL ALSO PROCURE A
CLASS III SYSTEM WHICH FALLS WITHIN THE RPA(S) SUBSET OF UA(S)
3. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY THE CAF WILL ADOPT THE TERMINOLOGY OF
RPA(S) FOR NATO CLASS III UA(S). THE TERMS RPA(S) SHALL BE USED WHEN
REFERRING TO THE JUSTAS PROJECT. ALL OTHER CURRENT AND PROGRAMMED
CLASS I/II WILL CONTINUE TO EMPLOY THE TERMS UA AND UAS. ALL
APPLICABLE PUBLICATIONS ARE TO BE AMENDED AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE
END OF ENGLISH TEXT/DEBUT DU TEXTE FRANCAIS
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Online Chris Pook

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Does the advent of the "Certifiable" Predator impact on the JUSTAS programme?

I seem to recall that compatibility with civil airspace or some such was an issue for the JUSTAS UAVs/RPAs

http://www.ga.com/ga-asis-type-certifiable-predator-b-takes-flight

Although, in general practice, I am not sure that "certifiable" is something you would normally deem a desirable characteristic for any CAF acquisition.
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Offline Dimsum

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Interesting...

Quote
Canada’s new military drones won’t be used in black-ops missions like assassinations: defence chief

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press | June 9, 2017 12:30 AM ET

OTTAWA — Public perceptions about armed drones have been clouded by Hollywood, Canada’s top soldier said Thursday as he insisted the Canadian Armed Forces won’t be using its stealthy new technology for so-called black-ops missions like assassinations.

“The fact that they’re armed, I think people have this idea, kind of a Hollywood view of assassination by that,” Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of the defence staff, said in an interview.

“That’s not the business we’re in. Can I underline that? Double bold it, make it big font? This is not the business that we’re talking about. And this policy is not that.”

The Liberal government’s long-awaited new defence policy, released Wednesday, said Canada’s military would finally be authorized for the first time to purchase and use armed drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

That decision represents one of the most notable shifts in the new policy, alongside the authorization of government-sanctioned cyberattacks.

...


http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadas-new-military-drones-wont-be-used-in-black-ops-missions-like-assassinations-defence-chief
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline duffman

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Perhaps some forward momentum on this program?  (finally  :waiting: )


Military Aims for Armed Drones In Six Years
http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/military-aims-for-armed-drones-in-six-years/ar-BBTeod7?ocid=ientp



Quote
OTTAWA - The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping to pull the trigger on the purchase of new armed drones within six years after spending nearly two decades weighing different options.

The Canadian Forces has been working since the early 2000s to identify and buy a fleet of UAVs that can conduct surveillance over Canada's vast territory as well as support military missions abroad.

Yet aside from purchasing a small number of temporary, unarmed drones for the war in Afghanistan — all of which have since been retired — the military has never been able to make much progress on a permanent fleet.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, air force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger said he is confident that is about to change after the Trudeau government officially approved the purchase of a fleet of armed UAVs through its defence policy.

That decision was one of the most notable shifts in the new policy, released in June 2017, which included a promise to spend an extra $62 billion over the next 20 years to expand and strengthen the military.

No previous federal government had authorized adding drones — armed or not — as a permanent fixture within the Canadian Forces in the same vein as fighter-jet or helicopter squadrons.

"We say we've got policy top-cover, which means we can see that program clearly in our defence policy," Meinzinger said. "So we're moving that project forward. ... That will be a capability we will see in the next five to six years."

The Royal Canadian Air Force has been quietly evaluating options and will soon present its ideas to procurement officials, he added. The plan is to buy one type of medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV for the military.

Drones have taken on an increasingly important role in militaries around the world; a report in the Royal Canadian Air Force Journal in late 2015 said 76 foreign militaries were using them and another 50 were developing them.

The unmanned aircraft are often used for surveillance and intelligence gathering as well as delivering pinpoint strikes from the air on enemy forces, in places where the use of force has been approved.

Yet the government's decision to acquire armed drones has prompted questions from some arms-control and human-rights groups that have raised concerns about the legal grey zone around such weapons.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government considered the drone decision carefully, critics have noted that there are very few rules around their acquisition and use — including in assassinations.

Meinzinger said drones proved their worth to the Canadian Forces during the war in Afghanistan, where he personally commanded a UAV squadron tasked with monitoring the surrounding countryside.

As for the government's decision to approve armed drones, "certainly the employment of those weapons will be within the bounds of the law of armed conflict and regulated very clearly," he said.

Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance has previously said the Canadian military plans to use armed drones in much the same way as other conventional weapons, such as fighter jets and artillery.
While he acknowledged the long road the military has followed in trying to get drones, Meinzinger said: "We have the support of the leadership and the department to continue to move that forward. So I don't see that being a problem at all."

Offline Dimsum

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Perhaps some forward momentum on this program?  (finally  :waiting: )


Military Aims for Armed Drones In Six Years
http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/military-aims-for-armed-drones-in-six-years/ar-BBTeod7?ocid=ientp

So, purchase in 6 years, another 3-5 for delivery and training...and I'm retired before I see them in the flesh.   ::)
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline MarkOttawa

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Dimsum:

Quote
Perhaps some forward momentum on this program?  (finally  :waiting: )

Not really--typical Canadian media re-cycling what's already public:

Quote
...
Requirements

The long range, long endurance, and beyond line of sight capability of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) will significantly increase the persistence of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnissance (ISR), providing timely operationally relevant information, such that the Commander can use the information to make effective decisions. The RPAS will complement existing intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnissance (ISTAR)capabilities, increase maritime and Arctic domain awareness and provide precision force application in support of Land and Special Operations Forces. It is envisioned that the RPAS capability will reduce the time between the discovery and request for precision strike and the delivery of the effect. Additionally, the improved situational awareness will provide Commanders and the Whole of Government with better decision support for both domestic and expeditionary missions.

Funding Range

$1 billion to 4.99 billion

Anticipated Timeline (Fiscal Year)

    Past Start Options Analysis
    2018 to 2019 Start Definition
    2022 to 2023 Start Implementation
    2024 to 2025 Initial Delivery
    2029 to 2030 Final Delivery
...
http://dgpaapp.forces.gc.ca/en/defence-capabilities-blueprint/project-details.asp?id=977

On verra, eh?

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Offline Colin P

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Offline CBH99

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So, purchase in 6 years, another 3-5 for delivery and training...and I'm retired before I see them in the flesh.   ::)


If you are who I think you are Dimsum, I actually remember you from when you were first getting in.  Pretty unreal an entire career can go by, before seeing us acquire a capability that was actually available BEFORE you got in...   :(
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Quote
"We have the support of the leadership and the department to continue to move that forward. So I don't see that being a problem at all."

Heck, what could go wrong?  It's not like Canada has a history of taking forever, or even spending money to not actually get anything in the end, right?

Am I right?

;D



Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.