NB Ferry Contract a 'Lost Opportunity,' CAW Says

March 31, 2009, 3:39 PM EST

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A New Brunswick government decision to award a $65 million contract for a new ferry to an American shipbuilder is a 'lost opportunity' to create Canadian jobs, CAW Atlantic area director Les Holloway says.

Holloway, in a March 20 letter to New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, blasts the government's decision to have the new Grand Manan ferry built in the United States by Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc.

"At a time when we are witnessing the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs in Atlantic Canada and within your province, it is disheartening to see your government spend $65 million Canadian tax dollars in the United States rather than using these taxes to create much needed jobs and economic activity within your own province and this country instead," Holloway said.

Holloway reminded Graham that the U.S. gives a huge advantage to its shipbuilding industry with policies such as the Jones Act that require American built vessels as well as favourable financing and incentive programs.

The decision is a poor use of Canadian tax dollars. Holloway said the government release announcing the decision is more focused on the naming of the vessel than other important issues. "I would suggest 'Lost Opportunity' would be an appropriate name as we have missed the opportunity of creating jobs at home at a time when we are in a deep recession."

The new 82 car ferry will connect Grand Manan Island to the New Brunswick mainland.


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