Cablegate: Hmcs Toronto Deploys

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. HMCS Toronto left Halifax January 14 for a six-month
deployment with the USS George Washington carrier strike group.
In a gesture of support that seemed well-received by both the
crew of Toronto and their families, Minister of National Defense
David Pratt and his Parliamentary Secretary David Price both
attended the ceremony. Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral Ron
Buck, senior Canadian military officers from the Halifax area, a
local MP and Consul General made up the rest of the official
send-off party.

2. Toronto sailed without her helicopter, and will at least in
the early phases of the deployment rely on U.S. Navy helicopter
support. Flight restrictions were imposed on the aged Sea King
chopper fleet following still-unexplained power losses, one of
which caused a Sea King to crash on the deck of HMCS Iroquois.
MARLANT chief of staff told CG that the hope is to have
restrictions on Sea King use lifted and a helicopter either
shipped or airlifted to Toronto by the end of March. There was
one good aspect to the chopper's unavailability: MND Pratt and
Vice-Admiral Buck were able to make their remarks to Toronto's
crew in the frigate's unused helicopter hangar, which provided
some shelter from the -35 Celsius wind-chill outside. While
neither Pratt nor Buck used the opportunity to mention the Sea
King replacement program, both noted the importance of this
deployment as a tangible manifestation of Canada's commitment to
the war on terror, and Buck stressed that the Canadian Navy was
the only one in the world that could do a one-for-one
replacement of a USN ship. Atlantic Fleet Commander Commodore
Ty Pile told CG said that he was extremely grateful for the
"phenomenal" cooperation the USN had provided to the Canadian
Navy during preparations for Toronto's departure.

3. CG took the opportunity to renew his acquaintance with Pratt
and Price, both of whom were conscientious members of
Parliament's National Defense Committee. Price highlighted the
importance that the Martin government attached to working with
the USG and NATO on defense issues.


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