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Oceanex bid for judicial review of Marine Atlantic subsidies quashed

Workers prepare the Oceanex Avalon for departure from the port of Corner Brook Wednesday, April 27, 2011.
Workers prepare the Oceanex Avalon for departure from the port of Corner Brook . — Western Star file

The Federal Court of Canada has dismissed a claim for judicial review from Oceanex on Marine Atlantic subsidies.

Provincial Justice Minister Andrew Parsons tweeted news of the decision Wednesday.

Just got word that the Federal Court of Canada has dismissed Oceanex’s claim for judicial review re Marine Atlantic.  Excellent work done by ‪@JPS_GovNL legal team!,Parsons tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Since Oceanex and Marine Atlantic together bring in nearly all of the commercial freight in Newfoundland, the decision could have far-reaching effects.

Oceanex had been arguing the terms of union between Newfoundland and Canada stipulate that the federal government must operate a ferry service between the island and Cape Breton, but it doesn’t say Ottawa must subsidize the service.

Meanwhile, the Canada Transportation Act states, “competition and market forces, both within and among the various modes of transportation, are the prime agents in providing viable and effective transportation services.”

Lawyers for Oceanex argued that the minister should have considered Oceanex’s competitive position when setting freight rates.

Oceanex head Syd Hynes told media Wedneday night that he would react to the decision after he has had time to read the documents.

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