A Canadian solution to forest fires in Canada and the world!

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ABOUT THIS WEBSITE

This website was conceived due to a "bright idea" I had while watching the news about the forest fire in Timmins, Ontario which at the time was out of control and the Mayor had declared a state of emergency. One image showed a solitary Bombardier 415 on the runway awaiting operations. Having a military (Navy) and financial background and being (semi) retired I had an opportunity to think things over. 

The worlds best waterbomber fighting the fire in Timmins Ontario CL415 Super Scooper

I am also the type of person who acts when a good idea comes along. We have a small publishing company and we have published "Your Very First Billion" which is the best book ever written on business in Canada and "The Canadian Winter Driver's Handbook" which is the best book on winter driving anywhere.  As a graduate of the University of Guelph I was trained in Economics amongst other interesting subjects and as a Manager in Banking and other large and small business I understand how a lot of things really work. I am not bragging just letting you know a little about myself and why I constructed this website.

So while others looked at the fire and smoke rushing towards Timmins I saw two squadrons of 15 planes each with RCAF roundels on their sides water bombing the fire into submission in a few hours of work. I saw an entire city being saved and billions of dollars of assets spared and the pride the citizens felt for their airforce and the pride the pilots felt for doing a job well done and saving rather than destroying life. I saw thousands of Canadians working on supplying parts and equipment and building the aircraft and I saw the unit prices going down as production went up and more offshore sales as other countries saw how Canada handled fires.  Instead of our manufacturing all going outside Canada I saw Canadians employed in good jobs building a high quality product that saved lives and assets all over the world. In other words the idea sprang to life -in my head!

Then I thought... How do I help make this happen? 

You can help too. Please contact your MP. Talk it up with your friends. If you can support the idea then please do because if everyone does nothing then nothing will happen. If we can get 5 squadrons of water bombers in the RCAF we can save billions of dollars from fire losses every year. We won't have situations like Slave Lake where most of the town was destroyed because Canada a country of 34 million did not have the resources to put out a fire in time to save the town. We have a window of opportunity here. Canada has the best water bomber in the world right now and it is proven, dependable, efficient and available. 

UPDATE September 9th 2012  

There is a huge fire in the Okanogan in BC which is causing emergency evacuations and destruction of property. One person watching the firefighters commented that he saw five water bombers and several helicopters attacking the fire. Now just think about this and what this website is suggesting. We are suggesting that the RCAF have five water bomber squadrons consisting of 15 planes each. Just one squadron of these waterbombers could put this fire out in a matter of hours. Instead we have a situation where we don't have enough resources to get the job done. And the fire is raging towards homes right now as I type this. Oh and when the (Conservative) Minister of National Defense replied to my suggestion he said basically not our department the Provinces are in charge. So there you go. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make her scuba dive. 

UPDATE JULY 17th 2014 

E-mail to Prime Minister Harper

Well I sent the idea to Prime Minister Harper and there was a quick response. Here it is-

Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister.

While you may be assured that careful consideration has been given to the situation you have described, the matter you have raised does not fall within the jurisdiction of the federal government. You would be best advised, therefore, to pursue your enquiries with the appropriate provincial authority.

I regret that I am unable to provide you with a more favorable response.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.

P. Monteith
Executive Correspondence Officer
for the Prime Minister's Office
Agent de correspondance
de la haute direction
pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre


So I have sent the idea to the Premier of BC and the Premier of Ontario and am waiting for their response. 

In both cases they declined. Politely. 

So do we give up? Nope.

UPDATE JUNE 3 2016

A lot has happened. We have had some horrible fires in 2014, 2015 and now this year we have had the worst fires in Canadian history with over 12 billion dollars damage at Fort MacMurray in Alberta. The fires grew to "Beast" size to over 500,000 square km and our firefighting resources were unable to put them out. If we had five squadrons of Canadian built water bombers available the fires would never have gotten to this size and they would have been stopped so that our firefighters on the ground could battle them.

We have had thousands of visitors to our website and the idea is being discussed but we have existing resources making millions of dollars of revenue fighting the fires and they are very reluctant having waterbombers in the RCAF because they they would not be able to make the same revenue with their commercial aircraft.  We also have Provincial fire fighting groups who wish to protect their own turf and wish to maintain responsibility for maintaining forests a Provincial responsibility. They have a quasi-federal system already in the form of an inter provincial agreement on sharing fire fighting resources when one province is overwhelmed. We have excellent Canadians managing and fighting these forest fires but there remains a big problem. 

Climate change has changed fire fighting. More resources are required. Since 2014 the number of fires has greatly increased. The problem has grown so large that it is no longer a Provincial problem it is a Canadian problem. And there is some bad news to report too.

In 2015 Bombardier the manufacturer of the best water bomber in the world closed their final assembly plant in North Bay Ontario due to lack of orders. The staff were laid off and the lease to the building at Jack Garland Airport was cancelled.  I suggest that the main problem here was not the fact that the aircraft was not wanted but because it was so expensive due to the fact so few of them were being made only three a year. The price was in the 37 million dollar category. If a production line had been started with three shifts and enough staff and automation there is no reason why the unit price could not have been brought down to less than half of what it was. In the 1950's Canada was pumping out one CF-100 All weather fighter interceptor out of the Downsview Avro plant at the rate of one per day! The cost back then converted to modern dollars was approximately 3 million each. My point is that if Canada could mass produce the CL-415 water bomber we could generate a huge world market for the aircraft because the price would be a fraction of the costs to produce it today. There is absolutely no reason why we could not be making one aircraft every 4 days. There is no reason why the components could not be made in Canada rather than purchasing them at very high prices from foreign suppliers.  And there is another problem.

Bombardier the company that made this aircraft is not doing well financially. There are the largest aerospace company in Canada with over 85,000 employees. But they are on the verge of bankruptcy and would be if the Quebec government had not given them a billion dollar loan. They are concentrating on their new CS100 aircraft a single isle passenger aircraft but there are terrible problems there too. If you doubt me then please review this website.  Clearly there are huge issues at Bombardier and just as clearly Canada needs an aerospace industry but a big problem that also affected the CL-415 water bomber is the problem of unit prices being way too high to compete in a world market.  If you check out the history of Bombardier you will see that they took over several failed companies and acquired both the products and the debts they produced.

The CL415 water bomber they made was actually based on the CL215 water bomber design that they acquired when they purchased the bankrupt Canadair company. They have had huge problems with debt and with producing aircraft on time and at a reasonable unit cost. In order to get the big Delta CS100 order apparently (this needs independent confirmation) Bombardier dropped the unit price to 22 million which means they will take a substantial loss on the sale of each aircraft! They are desperate to stay in business and maintain it as a family business. I would love to see a Canadian owned business prosper but the reality is that this company is on the verge of bankruptcy and if that occurs all their assets will be acquired likely by foreign owners.  

So what I have done here is inform you about the reality of the situation that we have today. If you doubt any of the information provided please research it yourself. We have politics, finances, family interests, shareholders, union, workers, design and other issues all combining to make one huge problem. We published what many of our readers have said is "best book ever published about business in Canada"  Your Very First Billion. We understand how business in Canada works. If we had access to a first rate management team, sufficient finances and the support of those involved then yes the problems could be fixed  but that will that ever happen?  Every business has something called a business cycle. They start up, grow, reach a peak and then decline and at some point their assets are purchased by another company or they simply go out of business. This is what we are seeing now with Bombardier. 

However we still have the best water bomber in the world. We could begin production in an independent organization. We could produce the aircraft at a fraction of the price Bombardier produced it at. We could establish a world market with thousands of Canadian jobs and we could save billions of dollars of forestry assets from forest fires. And so my point is that while we have this wonderful asset that would solve so many problems it is surrounded by problems which prevent it's manufacture. These problems need to be solved. We need government and industry to come together and sort this problem out and come up with a solution. Then we need five squadrons of these aircraft in the RCAF. Simple eh!

Update June 2016. 

I sent an e-mail to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a suggestion regarding the CL-415 and it's inclusion into the RCAF and a link to this website. I received this response from the same person that sent me a response when I sent a similar suggestion to Prime Minister Harper. Here is a copy: 

Dear Mr. Battiston:

On behalf of the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence. I regret the delay in replying.

Thank you for writing. The Prime Minister welcomes the views of Canadians on the issues that are important to them, whether supportive or critical. You may be assured that your comments and suggestions have been duly noted and are appreciated.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.


P. Monteith
Executive Correspondence Officer
for the Prime Minister's Office
Agent de correspondance
de la haute direction
pour le Cabinet du premier ministre

>>>   From :   ron.battiston@gmail.com      Received : 14  May  2016 01:16:02 AM   >>>

>>>   Subject : PM Web Site Comments - Public Safety   >>>>


SALE OF THE Ownership of the CL-415 Water Bomber -June 2016

A big change has just occurred. Bombardier has sold the rights to the CL-415 water bomber to Viking Air located in Victoria BC. When you look a bit deeper Viking Air is owned by Westerkirk Capital. And when you go even deeper that company is partially owned by the richest woman in Canada Sherry Brydson the niece of Ken Thomson and keep digging and it gets complicated but it appears that Woodbridge Investments owns Thompson Investments and that is the holding company for the Thompson family Canada's richest family and it owns Westerkirk Capital with Sherry Brydson.  The Thomson family now controls the CL-415 water bomber and because this is a very powerful and successful organization it also appears that for the first time in many years there is a good opportunity to start production again and start building sales for the worlds best water bomber. 

In the old days the Thomson family made their money by selling assets and quick investments but now they are concentrating on increasing revenue so my guess is that they see potential revenue in the CL-415 and will be working to increase that as they did with other aircraft rights that they own like the Twin Otter which had been out of production for 22 years before Viking Air purchased the rights and started production again. 

And keep in mind that a rich business family does not want publicity. Here is the problem. A certain percentage of the population and my guess is somewhere between 20 and 30% resent rich people. Since most rich people are aligned with a given political party another group of people aligned with other political parties will resent them. So you may have over half the population not supporting you because you are rich and because you are a member of another political party! This is why our rich and powerful people who by the way generate the majority of wealth and taxes in Canada prefer to use holding companies private and public to manage their business activities. They often control the press and so they often use this control to limit the amount of coverage they get! 

Remember folks there are only about 39 billionaires in Canada while we have over 36 million people who don't have a billion dollars! And the David Thomson family is the richest family in Canada. As the Publisher of the "best book published about business in Canada" Your Very First Billion by M. M. Farsea  I do understand these sorts of things! Consequently you won't read about facts like this in the paper and you won't hear about them on the media. Both mediums tend to be controlled by the very rich and famous people who are trying their best to maintain a low profile for the very reasonable reasons noted above. 

The bottom line here is actually very positive for the CL-415 Water Bomber. We have the richest family in Canada with the most resources now owning the best water bomber ever built and now we have a better chance than ever to build this aircraft and sell it to a world market with all the financial advantages that brings. I suggest that the next few years will be very interesting! And remember the ONLY reason that a very rich family would invest in this aircraft is that they see exactly what I see -that Canada has the best waterbomber in the world and that this aircraft can be sold in significant numbers worldwide including Canada in order to save billions of dollars of forestry assets. My suggestion was to include this aircraft in the RCAF thus generating manufacturing jobs in Canada and greatly reducing the damages now caused by forest fires. 

The only way that these new investors will make significant revenue from this aircraft is to sell several hundred more of them to world markets. Will it happen? I think that it will. We now have the most powerful and successful family in Canada working on this! 


 

HELP! We are providing this website to try and solve a problem in Canada and make things better. I am using resources from my Publishing company Battiston Publishing to support this site. If you would like to help we would certainly appreciate it. Even the equivalent funds for a cup of coffee (about $2) would help us and the more support we have the more we can do. This is not for personal gain as we have other websites for that purpose. This site is support for establishing Canadian built water bombers in the RCAF so that fires can be put out quickly and billions of dollars of resources can be saved.  Thanks for any help you can give!

 

 

 

 

Ron Battiston -Battiston Publishing -your Webmaster

 

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