Icebreaker shortages bad for N.L. economy: Yvonne Jones

Liberal MP for Labrador Yvonne Jones says a shortage of heavy duty icebreakers this winter has had a negative impact on the Newfoundland and Labrador economy.
Labrador MP Yvonne Jones on lack of ice breaking for ferries stranded while Coast Guard cuts cost 3:40

Liberal Labrador MP Yvonne Jones says a shortage of heavy duty icebreakers this winter has had a negative impact on Newfoundland and Labrador's economy.

During the winter, Jones said, icebreakers were sometimes tied up for maintenance or refuelling.

She believes budget shortfalls meant the Canadian Coast Guard wasn't staffing the ships at all times, and there were weeks when ferries bringing goods and passengers between Newfoundland and Labrador — weren't able to move.

"This has been a tremendous financial risk and and expenditure to Canadians who depend on these services," said Jones.

"There has been so many times that I can't even count in the last four months people have been stranded either in Labrador or on the island and having to pay out of pocket for travel expenses they did not budget for either because the ferries couldn't operate."

According to Jones, local businesses lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits because they don't have goods to sell.

"The federal government should have been better equipped to deal with the ice conditions that we can face in this part of the province. Just because we went through three, four years where we had very good ice conditions, it doesn't mean we're not going to have a year where we're not going to have a lot of ice," she said.

Jones said taking icebreakers off the run during the time of year when they're most needed doesn't make sense, and the federal government should pick a time of year for re-fits when the ice won't cause problems.