Geoff Regan called on the Conservative government today to get its act together and get contracts in place quickly for the Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy before the Halifax Shipyard is forced to chop jobs.
“The Conservatives say they are ramming through a “kitchen-sink” budget bill and denying Canadians the opportunity to provide input because they’re in a rush to create jobs. At the same time, their failure to get contracts in place for the Arctic patrol ships could end up costing shipyard workers their jobs,” said, the Liberal Member of Parliament for Halifax West.
When the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy was announced last fall, the Halifax Shipyard planned to start work on Arctic/offshore patrol ships in late 2012 or early 2013. Now the expected start date for the project has been pushed back to 2015. The union representing the shipyard workers, CAW Marine Workers Federation, says its members could face massive layoffs because of this delay when work on the current mid-shore patrol vessels project wraps up at the end of the year.
“The Conservatives made a promise to shipbuilders in Halifax to build $25 billion in combat vessels and provide jobs for the next 20 years. Now staff at the Department of National Defence says budget cuts mean the Navy must review its priorities, and the project could shrink,” said Regan.
“I’m very concerned that not a single contract has been signed. The Conservatives have broken promises to shipbuilders before with the Arctic icebreakers and the supply ships, for example.”
Regan said it’s time for the Conservative government to come through on its commitment and put people in Halifax to work building ships.