Canada’s aging fleet of Oberon class submarines had become simply too old to put in the water. In July 2000, their de facto retirement became official. The question was: what, if anything, would replace them? With long coastlines, and a significant portion of its iced-in northern seas used as running grounds for foreign submarines, Canada’s military believed that giving up its submarine capability was not a viable option for a country that wished to maintain its sovereignty.
Unfortunately, the country’s purchase of 4 second-hand diesel-electric Upholder Class submarines from Britain ran into controversy almost from its inception. In early 2008, controversy flared again as the submarines’ C$ 1.5 billion Victoria Class In-Service Support Contract (VISSC) became an issue. Subsequent revelations concerning spiraling costs, boats in poor condition, and few to no actual submarines in service have kept the fleet controversial to the present day.