N.L. shut out of shipbuilding: report

James
James McLeod
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Politicians and members of the Newfoundland shipbuilding industry are crying foul after media reports suggest the province will be largely shut out of federal contracts.

The Ottawa Citizen reported Monday the Harper government plans to foster J.D. Irving on the East Coast and Washington Marine Group on the West Coast as centres of excellence.

Sam Synard

Politicians and members of the Newfoundland shipbuilding industry are crying foul after media reports suggest the province will be largely shut out of federal contracts.

The Ottawa Citizen reported Monday the Harper government plans to foster J.D. Irving on the East Coast and Washington Marine Group on the West Coast as centres of excellence.

That has Marystown Mayor Sam Synard scratching his head.

"We need a lot of answers now if they're going to rush out and arbitrarily pick two sites for centres of excellence and not give Marystown a fair chance to be evaluated," Synard said. "I don't know what report card they did; nobody came and looked at our town. Nobody came and looked at our infrastructure."

The plan has not been ann-ounced by the federal government; the Ottawa Citizen quotes several sources as saying it will be announced in the next few weeks. The two centres will primarily be focused on combat vessels for the Canadian navy, as the forces eventually replace the Halifax-class frigates.

The theory is that by focusing all the work on two centres, the government spread the work too thinly across the country and failed to avoid the feast-and-famine cycle where shipyards face layoffs and economic pain when there's not enough work.

For Synard, the news has the sting of 2008 all over again, when the town thought it would be getting a $2.1-million contract to build the navy's new joint support ships.

Kiewit Offshore, the company that owns the shipyard, had planned to put $70-100 million into improvements and expansion to the Marystown facility.

The Ottawa Citizen also reported a third centre - believed to be Davie Yards in Quebec - will focus on the non-combat JSS vessels and planned coast guard ships.

"I'm saying to myself, here's Davie as we speak in bankruptcy protection. They've been in and out of business for the last two decades," Synard said. "Why would the federal government think that location would be a good location?"

But Harvey Humby, owner of the Glovertown Shipyard, said it's struggling to find enough work, and being shut out of federal contracts won't help.

"I don't think it's fair, myself," Humby said. "I think every region and every facility that's able to do work should be given an opportunity."

In a news release, Random-Burin-St. George's MP Judy Foote said narrowing the government focus to a handful of shipyards contradicts statements made by Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

In 2009, MacKay was quoted as saying there will be enough work for everyone, with 50 ships planned.

"This Conservative government has given nothing but empty promises to Canada's shipbuilding industry," Foote said. "Communities that depend on the shipbuilding industry, like Marystown and Clarenville, desperately want this government to deliver on its promises."

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Ottawa Citizen, J.D. Irving, East Coast and Washington Marine Group on the West Coast

Geographic location: Marystown, Newfoundland, Halifax Quebec St. George's Canada Clarenville

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Recent comments

  • Christine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    AMEN to that William!!! I was just going to write the same thing!

  • Another Tory Shill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Quite rightly too. Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans turned their backs on the Conservative Party and are now reaping the consequences of not supporting our government. Like the disobedient womens' groups who questioned Harper's policies, Newfoundland too should be cut off until we learn our lesson. If you want to think for yourself, you deserve to be punished. Naughty, naughty Newfoundlanders!

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    What do you expect people? The people of Newfoundland and Labrador sided with Danny and failed to vote for Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Do you think you can kick Harper and get away with it? Dream on!!!!

  • Jeff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    The Marystown shipyard has not fully recovered since the 80's when Clyde Wells was premier. Then the shipyard was government owned. At the height of a strike, the union was told that a ferry contract would not be given to Marystown if the union did not accept a certain offer. They declined and I believe the contract even went out of province. With the exception of some work for Hibernia (which got sent to New Brunswick) and the Sea Rose, the shipyard has not done alot of work since then. The saviour to the shipyard was supposed to be Kiewit. What a joke. Hard to get a contract for a larger ship when there isn't a facility to get it onshore. The other yards listed (Irving, Davie, etc) are better equipped yards and can handle large ships. I believe Davie actually built two of the ferries that service the NL to NS run. Kiewit keep saying that if they get a contract they will invest the money to upgrade the facility. Hard to get a contract when you bid higher than the rest in order to pay for the upgrades. This facility has been in trouble for about 30 years. after so many owners who have tried to make this facility work there is one common factor in all the troubles - union

  • Rob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    No wonder people don't want to do business with us. We have Mayors who call news conferences slagging the government for a decision that hasn't been announced yet, based on an inspection that wasn't done, and after all that may be nothing but rumor and speculation. Nothing like shooting oneself in the foot. I wouldn't want to do business with Marystown either after this foolishness. Perhaps someone who can generate positive energy is needed in the mayor's chair instead of Chicken Little. br br And maybe, just maybe, Davie and Irving DO have better facilities. Although I suspect an objective evaluation of same would be both impossible... and useless. Some Newfoundlanders would rather cry foul then pull up socks. Not saying thats the case here.... but it sure comes off that way.

  • Bones
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Nate: Will the Liberals or NDP be fielding new leadership material or any new ideas? I thought so, lol, Danny wins again! Same thing with Harper, and I agree, he's a horrible leader, but what will you do if the Liberals or the NDP don't field new leaders? Who do you want to run the country, Iggy or Jack? Maybe now is the Green Party's chance? lol. What about NL, who's your pick there, Yvonne or Lorraine? Guess what, dude, Danny wins again, lol. Good Luck!!

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    I seriously doubt the ABC campaign had anything to do with this.

    Creating a critical mass in two centres of excellence for a country the size of Canada with our small population makes total sense.

    You shouldn't need government contracts to keep your shipyard going.

    Unions don't help either.

    I say this as a Newfoundlander.

  • Bones
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Jeff: Please don't cloud the slag with facts. lol

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Harper is a fool, Danny is a tool. The sooner the pair are gone the better for all. We reap what we sew people. Next elections use your heads for a change and obtain the big picture of what you are voting for.

  • JayW
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Its pretty obvious that is getting near the time that Newfoundland leave confederation. I have been seeing this same headline my entire life regardless of who is the government but its particularly worse under the current conservative (the punishers) and past progressive conservative federal governments. They love the cash flow from oil and other natural resources but couldn't be bothered to toss a bone to us when the opportunity presents itself.

  • William Daniels
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    This is exactly what Danny did to St. Anthony. He punished them for voting Liberal.

  • Gen X
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    ROFLMAO!

    Obviously someone in government has dealt with the shipyards in Nfld! One word... Pathetic! One cause... Unions.

    And, Yes, I am speaking from experience.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Someone should staet shouting about how Canadian contracts are going to American owned companies. I would like to see the US tender naval contracts to Canadian company- ya right. Well I guess Harper just love the US

  • Richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Why would anyone do businsess here? The risk of expropriation is too great.

  • Stop and Whack it
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    What is really amusing is that I recently saw a news story on Marystown relating the fact that, thanks to the Williams gov. there are two ferries presently under construction, and there is a rig in for refit. There isn't an apartment, or hotel room to be had with all the people in town. Kewit paid one dollar for the shipyard, I wonder have they made that back yet? LOL

  • Randy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    This has danny Williams ,blunder,written all over it ,just like the paper mill fiasco in central. Our chidren will be paying for his ,ego tripping,for decades to come

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    JayW so what your saying is that because the Conservatives don't send taxpayer funded work to the shipyard Newfoundland should leave Canada?

    The shipyard should be able to stand on its own two feet without handouts.

    Gut the union.

  • Johnny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    John Smith, can you say ABC? Good on you.

  • ABCD
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Anyone think that Crazy Dannys A B C Campaign during the last election might play a part in all this? Oh well it gave his allready over inflated ego a boost. Too bad it was at our expense.

  • John Smith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Funny, I swear I saw this headline in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s,...and the beat goes on...

  • Christine
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    AMEN to that William!!! I was just going to write the same thing!

  • Another Tory Shill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Quite rightly too. Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans turned their backs on the Conservative Party and are now reaping the consequences of not supporting our government. Like the disobedient womens' groups who questioned Harper's policies, Newfoundland too should be cut off until we learn our lesson. If you want to think for yourself, you deserve to be punished. Naughty, naughty Newfoundlanders!

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    What do you expect people? The people of Newfoundland and Labrador sided with Danny and failed to vote for Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Do you think you can kick Harper and get away with it? Dream on!!!!

  • Jeff
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    The Marystown shipyard has not fully recovered since the 80's when Clyde Wells was premier. Then the shipyard was government owned. At the height of a strike, the union was told that a ferry contract would not be given to Marystown if the union did not accept a certain offer. They declined and I believe the contract even went out of province. With the exception of some work for Hibernia (which got sent to New Brunswick) and the Sea Rose, the shipyard has not done alot of work since then. The saviour to the shipyard was supposed to be Kiewit. What a joke. Hard to get a contract for a larger ship when there isn't a facility to get it onshore. The other yards listed (Irving, Davie, etc) are better equipped yards and can handle large ships. I believe Davie actually built two of the ferries that service the NL to NS run. Kiewit keep saying that if they get a contract they will invest the money to upgrade the facility. Hard to get a contract when you bid higher than the rest in order to pay for the upgrades. This facility has been in trouble for about 30 years. after so many owners who have tried to make this facility work there is one common factor in all the troubles - union

  • Rob
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    No wonder people don't want to do business with us. We have Mayors who call news conferences slagging the government for a decision that hasn't been announced yet, based on an inspection that wasn't done, and after all that may be nothing but rumor and speculation. Nothing like shooting oneself in the foot. I wouldn't want to do business with Marystown either after this foolishness. Perhaps someone who can generate positive energy is needed in the mayor's chair instead of Chicken Little. br br And maybe, just maybe, Davie and Irving DO have better facilities. Although I suspect an objective evaluation of same would be both impossible... and useless. Some Newfoundlanders would rather cry foul then pull up socks. Not saying thats the case here.... but it sure comes off that way.

  • Bones
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Nate: Will the Liberals or NDP be fielding new leadership material or any new ideas? I thought so, lol, Danny wins again! Same thing with Harper, and I agree, he's a horrible leader, but what will you do if the Liberals or the NDP don't field new leaders? Who do you want to run the country, Iggy or Jack? Maybe now is the Green Party's chance? lol. What about NL, who's your pick there, Yvonne or Lorraine? Guess what, dude, Danny wins again, lol. Good Luck!!

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    I seriously doubt the ABC campaign had anything to do with this.

    Creating a critical mass in two centres of excellence for a country the size of Canada with our small population makes total sense.

    You shouldn't need government contracts to keep your shipyard going.

    Unions don't help either.

    I say this as a Newfoundlander.

  • Bones
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Jeff: Please don't cloud the slag with facts. lol

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Harper is a fool, Danny is a tool. The sooner the pair are gone the better for all. We reap what we sew people. Next elections use your heads for a change and obtain the big picture of what you are voting for.

  • JayW
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Its pretty obvious that is getting near the time that Newfoundland leave confederation. I have been seeing this same headline my entire life regardless of who is the government but its particularly worse under the current conservative (the punishers) and past progressive conservative federal governments. They love the cash flow from oil and other natural resources but couldn't be bothered to toss a bone to us when the opportunity presents itself.

  • William Daniels
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    This is exactly what Danny did to St. Anthony. He punished them for voting Liberal.

  • Gen X
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    ROFLMAO!

    Obviously someone in government has dealt with the shipyards in Nfld! One word... Pathetic! One cause... Unions.

    And, Yes, I am speaking from experience.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Someone should staet shouting about how Canadian contracts are going to American owned companies. I would like to see the US tender naval contracts to Canadian company- ya right. Well I guess Harper just love the US

  • Richard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Why would anyone do businsess here? The risk of expropriation is too great.

  • Stop and Whack it
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    What is really amusing is that I recently saw a news story on Marystown relating the fact that, thanks to the Williams gov. there are two ferries presently under construction, and there is a rig in for refit. There isn't an apartment, or hotel room to be had with all the people in town. Kewit paid one dollar for the shipyard, I wonder have they made that back yet? LOL

  • Randy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    This has danny Williams ,blunder,written all over it ,just like the paper mill fiasco in central. Our chidren will be paying for his ,ego tripping,for decades to come

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    JayW so what your saying is that because the Conservatives don't send taxpayer funded work to the shipyard Newfoundland should leave Canada?

    The shipyard should be able to stand on its own two feet without handouts.

    Gut the union.

  • Johnny
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    John Smith, can you say ABC? Good on you.

  • ABCD
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Anyone think that Crazy Dannys A B C Campaign during the last election might play a part in all this? Oh well it gave his allready over inflated ego a boost. Too bad it was at our expense.

  • John Smith
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Funny, I swear I saw this headline in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s,...and the beat goes on...