The Nova Scotia legislature has passed a resolution that the provincial government go ahead with the cleanup of the MV Miner off the coast of Cape Breton and try to recover the costs later.
Alfie MacLeod, the Progressive Conservative MLA for Cape Breton West, proposed the resolution on Wednesday and it received unanimous support.
"The resolution was simply that the province move forward with the cleanup of the MV Miner and that they then assign the costs to whoever they think it should be assigned to. In other words, get the work done and then if you have to fight with the federal government, then fight with them," he said.
"Nobody's saying that the federal government doesn't have a responsibility here, but it's time for action to take place."
The salvage of the MV Miner has been mired in paperwork since it ran aground on Scatarie Island in September 2011. It was being towed from Montreal to Turkey when its towline snapped.
Early on, the province and the federal government fought over whose responsibility it was to get rid of the ship. There were also delays getting a salvage plan together and thieves stole equipment to be used in the salvage.
Then the province issued a stop-work order to the Bennington Group — the New York-based company hired to salvage the vessel — because of safety concerns. The province also ordered the Bennington Group to provide an engineering report on whether the salvage could be done safely.
Dexter in Ottawa
While the Bennington Group eventually got the green light to move forward with the salvage, the company's CEO walked away from the plan when the province refused to pay for the company's insurance and equipment.
Dexter, who has been in Ottawa trying to get the federal government to take responsibility for the MV Miner, was not in the house Wednesday night for the vote.
MacLeod said he hopes the premier will respect the wishes of the legislature and push forward with the salvage.
"I was very surprised that it was adopted, quite frankly," he said.
"Normally that doesn't happen. Now, whether or not there'll be any follow up on it is another thing, but it was a surprise that it was passed. Maybe they weren't listening, but then again, they haven't been listening on this file all along."
Bennington Group's salvage permit runs out on Dec. 1. Thus far, none of the ship has been removed.