CARLETON – In its budget tabled Tuesday, the federal government floats the mystery of the replacement of the Madeleine ferry, connecting the Magdalen Islands to Souris, Prince Edward Island. Will it be a new ship or a used ship?
In his budget speech, Finance Minister Bill Morneau indicated that his government will purchase two ferries to replace MV Madeleine […] and NM Holiday Island, which commutes Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
An acquisition does not necessarily mean ordering a new vessel. The member for Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier could not “give technicalities” on this issue of the Department of Transport, Wednesday, the day after the budget.
She adds that she “cried that night so I had this file to heart”, referred to the hours following the tabling of the budget. His office was supposed to clarify the situation on Wednesday, but the Sun’s questions finally remained unresolved.
The Madeleine was built in 1981. He is 38 years old. It was acquired in 1997 by the federal government, which entrusted it to the Madelinienne CTMA cooperative, as it has been the tradition since 1971 with the previous ferries. In addition to its age, it only partially meets the needs of the Islands since from February to April, when the ice clogs the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it must give way to the CTMA Vacancier.
The mayor of the Magdalen Islands, Jonathan Lapierre, said Wednesday could not “answer that”, when asked to clarify whether a new ship will replace the Madeleine . The spokesman of the CTMA, Claudia Delaney, did not return calls from the sun .
The deputy of Îles-de-la-Madeleine in the National Assembly, Joel Arseneau, said he was not aware of what looks like a federal secret.
“We must not forget that two years ago, the federal government began a process by issuing a call for tenders to verify the interest of private companies for a 20-year service contract with a ship can not be older than five years. CTMA reacted strongly because it could have lost this service. A giant like BC Ferries had shown interest. This process seems to be put on hold as the federal government says it will acquire a vessel. We are in the conjectures, but we can think that this ship will not be more than five years old. We can believe that the role of the CTMA is secure, “he analyzes.
Is it possible that the federal government is letting a little doubt come back to make a high-political announcement in this election year? “It’s possible,” notes MP Arseneau.
Hope at Davie
After the Madelinots, the second group most interested in the possible construction of a new ferry to replace the Madeleine is the leaders of Chantier Davie, Lévis.
Davie spokesperson Frédérik Boisvert believes Ottawa is likely to opt for a new vessel, not only to replace the Madeleine , but also for the Holiday Island and a third ferry, for Marine Atlantic, a corporation Federal Public Service.
He thinks this government will be tempted to bring these three ships into the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which is designed to develop Canadian shipyards.
“I will not hide the fact that we have the ambition to build all three. We have proved with the Asterix [a ship delivered to National Defense] that we could deliver on time and within budgets. We are the only ones with the capacity to build them, the other Canadian shipyards are occupied with federal contracts, “says Boisvert.
He added that Chantier Davie can offer the federal government various options to meet its needs, including “the innovative procurement method deployed for Asterix , under a five to 10-year guaranteed lease agreement …” first leave the decision to the government, “he concludes.
The replacement of a ship like the Madeleine is usually estimated at an interval of $ 200 to $ 300 million. By adding the other two federal ferries, the total bill, if built and not purchased used, is expected to exceed $ 1 billion.