Davie: Lehouillier wants federal parties to commit themselves

Impatience continues to grow at Davie Shipyard. And the triggering of the federal election on Wednesday only fuels it. “What we are asking the federal political parties is to compromise themselves definitively in favor of a Canadian shipbuilding strategy,” said Lévis Mayor Gilles Lehouillier in a press briefing on Wednesday.
Themedia event was planned before Justin Trudeau decided to officially launch the country in the election campaign. In July, it was time for Davie to celebrate with the announcement by the federal government of the addition of a third player to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, with Seaspan and Irving. An Ontario shipyard, Heddle, came to play the spoilsport in the process, alleging in a complaint to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal that the call for nominations was designed so that only Davie could to qualify. The federal government agreed to review certain conditions and postpone the deadline for the process, which is now over. Since then, the situation is at a standstill, deplore the speakers who revolve around the Lévis shipyard.

Rules of the game changed

“It hurt us a bit to see that we changed the rules of the game, because when I went to Ottawa with Clément Gignac in 2011, we were refused any changes to the procedure. […] We do not say that the federal government is not on the right track, but it worries us, “said Gilles Lehouillier. “I would say we are very disappointed because we have not achieved our objective since 2011, which is to correct a historical mistake by integrating Davie into the National Strategy. of marine construction, “said Ann Gingras, president of the Central Council of the CSN in Quebec-Chaudière-Appalache. “If the deadlines had been met, the question would be settled today,” said André Komlosy, president of Chantier Davie’s Supplier Association. For him,

The fear is shared by the possibility that political maneuvers could benefit other sites during the election campaign. “As we saw, in the two other projects that were selected [in the National Shipbuilding Strategy], some were forced to equip themselves, who had subsidies to improve their infrastructure, which goes against the 2011 agreement by the way, “said Gilles Lehouillier. “That’s what we fear, that we come to upgrade a site that does not have the capacity to do it,” he added.

According to Ann Gingras, Huddle does not have the scale and capabilities to meet the needs of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The new player selected should, among other things, receive the contract for the construction of six new icebreakers. “It’s a question of where does this building come from? We know that it was a shipyard that, no later than June, declared that it wanted to become a center of excellence for repair. It is a small construction site that does not have the expertise and the capacity to do construction. They are in the repair of small vessels, tugs. And there, three months later, they want to build icebreakers [and] they associate themselves with Damen, a shipyard in the Netherlands, […] which has already been convicted by the World Bank for damages. payments of bribes “,

The Obelix, not enough

The three speakers did not hesitate to maltreat the position of the outgoing Conservative MP from Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis, Steven Blaney. The latter said, in an interview with the Journal de Québec, want to entrust the construction of the tanker Obelix to Davie, without however promising to continue with the addition of a third player in the National Strategy of shipbuilding.

“Let’s be clear, instead of seeing hundreds of job losses on the job site, as has been the case with the Liberals over the past four years, our Conservative government is committed not only to respecting the process of integrating a third job site. in the National Naval Strategy, but also to grant Obelix as soon as a Conservative government is elected, “Blaney added by email on Wednesday.

“It’s not the Obelix that will make the difference. This is a patch, and the patches are over, said Gilles Lehouillier. Davie must be recognized as part of the Canadian Shipbuilding Strategy, and we demand that political parties compromise as quickly as possible and with a clear timetable. ”

“What did the Conservatives do for the yard here? Zero then a bar, “reacted Ann Gingras, referring to the years when the Conservatives were in power. “The Obelix, we will take it, we have nothing against it, it would put employees to work right away, but it is far from ensuring sustainability at the construction site. […] By entering the Strategy, we are talking about 20-30 years [of contracts], “she continued.

“We will be very very vigilant, because the lobbying game in Ottawa, it rolls pretty hard,” said Gilles Lehouillier, who intends to make the Davie the main issue of the region during the election campaign.

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