Defence department bureaucrats fought against a plan to purchase outright the commercial vessel now being converted as a naval supply ship because they worried it would make the government’s shipbuilding program look bad.

While bureaucrats acknowledged buying the ship after a five-year lease would help the navy, they worried that would create a perception that there were problems with the federal shipbuilding strategy, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

The interim supply ship, which the Liberal government tried to derail in the fall of 2015, is at the heart of the case of Vice Admiral Mark Norman. Norman, a respected officer, was suspended from his job as vice chief of staff earlier this year after the RCMP alleged he leaked information about Liberal plans to scuttle the $700 million supply vessel deal.

Davie shipyards in Quebec is converting the commercial vessel under what it calls Project Resolve. It will then lease the vessel to the Canadian government so it can be used to refuel and supply warships at sea.

Canada has been without such a capability since 2015 after it removed from service its aging resupply vessels.


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