Eddie Joyce, MHA for the District of Bay of Islands, says Transportation
Minister Tom Rideout has hired a consultant in an effort to back away from
the PC party’s election commitment to build new provincial ferries using the
local workforce and facilities in this province.
In a story published in today’s Telegram, Minister Rideout confirmed that
government has asked a consultant to look at acquiring used vessels from
international markets as an option to replacing the aging provincial ferry
fleet. This is an option that the PC Party stated they would not entertain
over the past several years.
"I find it very strange that Minister Rideout has asked a consultant to
look at the purchase of used ferries from the international market," said
Mr. Joyce. "This is the same minister who continuously stated that they
would never make this type of purchase, and took every opportunity to
criticize the former government for similar purchases.
"This hiring of a consultant to develop a ferry replacement strategy is a
waste of money. The studies have been done, the department already knows the
problems that exist and what needs to be done to correct these problems.
This is just another public relations exercise by this government to back
away from another election commitment. I suspect the minister will use this
report as justification as to why government is not willing to build
replacement ferries in this province with local workers. Similar to the
report on the Labrador ferry service, they will tailor the report to reflect
their planned intentions.
"Once again, Minister Rideout blames the previous government for every
problem in his department. The PC Party made the commitment to replace the
provincial ferry fleet using local shipyards and local workers. If he breaks
this promise, as it certainly appears that he is preparing to do, I look
forward to his excuse as to why it was the Liberals fault. It is time for
this minister to take responsibility for his department and actually do
something for the people of the province. Eventually, the minister will no
longer be able to deflect criticism to others, but will be held accountable
for his lack of action on transportation issues. I will continue to pressure
this government to ensure this commitment is kept."