Shipyard accuses Federal Government of Playing Favorites.
If there’s one thing the Liberal party has made perfectly clear is just how superficial the “Sunny Ways” campaign truly has been, because behind that cheap façade, is the same “Liberal Old Boys Club” that has been feeding off taxpayers for decades.
An Ontario shipyard is accusing the Liberal Government of unfairly awarding contracts to Quebec’s Chantier Davie shipyard potentially worth Billions of Dollars, with carefully tailored contracts that effectively eliminate all other competition.
Hamilton based Heddle Marine submitted the complaint to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal regarding the Federal Governments search for a third shipyard to add to its shipbuilding strategy. The winning bid would join Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan Marine out of Vancouver in the huge naval procurement process and taking part in building six new icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard. Heddle alleges that many of the requirements laid out by the government are virtually impossible for any other shipyard, other then Davie, to meet. Heddle is asking the tribunal to order the removal of the requirements or launch a new search process.
This is not the first time lucrative Federal contracts have been handed to Davie without competition of any sort. Ironically, the area surrounding Davey is likely to be hotly contested in the upcoming fall federal election and The Liberals aren’t scared to spend whatever it takes to swing the vote in their direction. Perhaps this is why Davey has previously expressed confidence it will become the third yard.
Qualifying shipyards must have a contract now or recent experience in building ships weighing more than 1,000 tonnes. “No shipyard in Canada that is eligible to apply for the contract is capable of satisfying this requirement except Chantier Davie Canada” the complaint reads.
Qualifying shipyards must be able to launch vessels wider than 24 meters, which disqualifies all Ontario shipyards because vessels must be under 23.8 meters to traverse the St. Lawrence Seaway. Considering that the third shipyard will be tasked building Icebreakers able to operate in the Great Lakes this requirement makes no sense at all.
Heddles Thunderbay shipyard is no lightweight in the shipbuilding arena as their facilities have recently worked on the CCGS Pierre Radisson and CCGS Terry Fox (icebreaker) last year. “We’re extremely busy in the winter, to the point where last year we had to turn away over $10 million worth of work because we didn’t have the capacity at that time to do all the work required within the three month period,” says Heddle president, Shaun Padulo. “But our whole business plan right now is to try and find enough work for 365 days a year, and that way we can level out the spikes. If we can have a consistent workforce with consistent work, then it changes our whole business mentality.”
These Requirements and others, “appear to predetermine and/or unduly favor Davie as a qualifying supplier and unreasonably disqualify all other shipyards, but specifically Ontario based shipyards,” the complaint reads. Heddle also takes issue with the lack of consultation before the search was launched August 2nd. The deadline was later extended to August 26th after the initial 15 day response deadline.
And then in May, our unbiased leader, Justin Trudeau announced, ‘’We recognize that its an opportunity for Davie to apply to become that third shipbuilding facility because there will be a tremendous amount of work in the coming years.”
Huge contracts like this are massive investments to Canada’s infrastructure and these contracts must be treated seriously. Taxpayers cannot afford a government that merely tosses documents such as this around like they are just a formality to be bypassed in order to keep their “Old Boys Club” taken care of, no matter what it costs us!