From CBC News/British Columbia
A longtime critic of Canada's submarine program is raising questions about a development the navy considers to be a "milestone."
For the first time since Canada's four Victoria-class subs were purchased almost 20 years ago, The navy says the fleet is now "operational." That means three of the subs are finally able to conduct naval operations. But only one of the subs, HMCS Victoria, can currently fire a torpedo.
"They are reaching for the glimmers of hope and they've found a couple, and I don't want to deny them that," says Michael Byers, a UBC political science professor and a Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law.
"But we also have to take this with a large grain of salt. This is not a huge accomplishment, this is simply the first good news the navy has had for a number of years."
Byers says the operational subs are a mark of success for the navy, especially in terms of becoming more useful to the U.S. in training exercises. But he says there are some serious questions that still aren't answered. "One of them is obviously how operational are they really? Is this just symbolic or can they actually engage in combat if necessary?"