OTTAWA, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Members of a House of Commons committee want to talk to former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien about his role in a fatal submarine fire, a report said.
The call by Bloc Quebecois members of the Defense Committee came following testimony from former Defense Minister David Collenette, who said political concerns by Chretien caused a three-year delay in updating Canada's fleet of submarines, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
The committee is investigating the program in the wake of October's fatal fire aboard the HMCS Chicoutimi.
Collenette said he proposed replacing Canada's Oberon-class subs with four, used British submarines in 1995, but said Chretien was worried about the spending when "so many sectors of Canadian society had borne the brunt of deficit cutting."
So the fleet's existing ships were untouched for another three years. The British subs were bought in 1998 under what was first billed as a barter deal but which really cost the government about $730 million.