The federal Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to donate tens of thousands of surplus air-to-ground rockets to Ukraine that are slated for disposal.
Opposition Leader Pierre Poièvre made the call Friday during a House of Commons debate on the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Renewal Bill.
The Canadian Armed Forces has a stockpile of 83,303 CRV7 rockets. The CRV7 rocket is his 1980s vintage weapon, but fell out of service in the early 2000s.
Three years ago, the federal government struck a deal to dispose of the rocket over several years.
Poièvre said he understands that Ukraine is asking Canada to donate the CRV7 instead of destroying it.
“Now is the time to say less and do more,” Poilievre said in a media statement.
He said that instead of “making Canadians pay millions of dollars to get rid of these weapons,” these weapons should be provided “to Ukraine, where they can be used to defend their sovereignty.”
The Department of Defense (DND) confirmed Friday that it still has the rockets and is considering them as part of a future military donation package.
The problem, a senior defense official said, is that while Canada still has tens of thousands of rockets and their motors, not all of them carry warheads.
A spokesman for Defense Minister Bill Blair confirmed the government was considering donating the rockets.
“Before sending equipment to Ukraine, we will coordinate closely with Ukraine to ensure that the donation meets its military needs and verify the operational effectiveness of the equipment,” Daniel Minden said in a media statement.
“We are following this same process for CAF’s CRV7 rocket inventory, which we purchased decades ago. Specifically, we are ensuring that this equipment is operationally viable and transported to Ukraine prior to potential donation. We are conducting tests to confirm that it is safe to use.”
The problem is a lack of warheads.
Cold War era weapons
Supporters in Ukraine are campaigning online for the donation of CRV7s and 12 retired military anti-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) defense systems.
These supporters have been told that 8,000 rocket warheads remain in good condition and can be donated immediately, while the rest can be used for spare parts.
Designed during the Cold War and manufactured by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, Man., the CRV7 was considered one of the most powerful air-to-ground attack rockets of its time and was used by allied forces during the Afghanistan War.
They can be launched from both fixed-wing fighters and attack helicopters, and come with different types of warheads, one of which, the 7.3 kg version, is capable of penetrating armored or heavily fortified targets. can.
Mr Minden said the proposed Lockett donation was an attempt to distract from the fact that the Conservative Party voted against the Free Trade Act, which was updated last year.
The Conservative Party objected to the provision of a “carbon tax” in the text, even though the Ukrainian government is not obligated to impose a carbon tax.