The best numbers I have (supplied by NewGolconda) suggest that lifetime maintenance costs are pretty much equal to original capital cost for a battle cruiser. Maintenance costs don’t include refits, which run just under 20% for capital ship.
Equivalent numbers for cruiser have maintenance lifetime at slightly over 2X capital costs, and refits at ~25% capital cost. Capital cost of cruiser being ~1/6th of capital ship. I’m not including aircraft in above due to timeframe/they can be considered optional.
For Canada, building railroads was seen as Nation building. Add to that, a RCN fleet unit would be just a token force against our most likely (?only?) opponent and would probably antagonize them. Result was, we didn't care in we had a BC.
RN really should have pushed Borden to honour Laurie’s commitment – 5 cruisers are more expensive long term than a BC and 3 cruisers. And it far better met both Canada’s short and long term requirements. And having Canadian shipyards tool up for destroyer production pre-war would have paid huge dividends in ’16 when Germany resumed USW.
I don’t consider the Québécois any more/less Canadian than the Orangemen in Ontario. To be honest, no one in Canada wanted the capital ship in ’09. It would commit Canada to UK war. 99 chances out of 100, we would join such a war, but we wanted the ability to decide for ourselves. Not have it fait accompli because our capital ship was officered by RN and they were taking one of their heavy units to the fight. I really don't see that as having changed in '19, so don't know what Borden was thinking.
Vickers, in Montreal, certainly had capability to build cruisers, especially, if like Cockatoo Dockyard, you start with a ‘kit’ from a yard in UK. Multiple dockyards would have had ability to build destroyer – Yarrow in BC, Kingston Shipyard in ON & Halifax in NS. All the aforementioned have links to yards in UK which could have been leveraged. And there are another handful of yards around Great Lakes that were almost possible. The problem was: They weren’t Orangeman strongholds. And the silly buggers couldn’t see the long term, i.e. putting RCN construction into those locations would increase odds of them becoming strongholds.
Note: While the locks of both the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway are both slightly too small for a WWI DD (~5%), doing something creative – either modifying hulls slightly shorter, completing bow/stern in dry dock east of Montreal or increasing lock length (better long term).