Decision to withdraw from NATO programs to hurt Cdn contracts

– The Harper government’s decision to Canadian participation in two surveillance programs will cost in the country’s .

National Defence was hoping to save as much as $90 million per year by withdrawing from the jointly owned and operated Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and the Alliance Ground Surveillance (), a fairly new program that utilizes to monitor the .

Yet, documents released to The Canadian Press under access to information legislation show that taking part has meant a bonanza of tens of millions of dollars in annual contracts for at least high-tech Canadian companies.

With the Canadian military no longer part of the sharing arrangement, those companies will be shut out of further bidding and not allowed to renew their existing contracts.

Between 1992 and 2010, Canada contributed $161 million towards depot level maintenance of NATO’s AWACS , but Canadian companies in turn received $180 million in contracts as part of the service package.

The country’s military representative at NATO says the withdrawal decision is about finding a better way for the government to defence spending.

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