Conservative MP Peter MacKay says the review of the ferry between Wood Islands, P.E.I., and Caribou, N.S., is normal practice for any government operation. ((CBC))

The Northumberland Ferries service between Caribou, N.S., and Wood Islands, P.E.I., is not in danger of shutting down, Conservative MP Peter MacKay says.

The federal government is reviewing the route, which Northumberland has been operating since the 1940s and which the federal government subsidizes to the tune of $5-million a year.

The review had raised concerns about the service's future from workers, tourist officials and Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay, who is the local MP on the island side of the ferry route.

But MacKay, the local MP on the Nova Scotia side, said the review is normal practice for a government operation and that he has heard nothing to suggest the link is in jeopardy, with year-to-date passenger traffic up 3.6 per cent.

He said any suggestion the ferry service is teetering on the edge is Liberal rhetoric.

"This is part of what I would call the annual Lawrence MacAulay Chicken Little routine that we've seen year after year, even when he was in government," MacKay said.

"I don't think it would come as a surprise to anyone that within departments we look for accountability, we look for public funding to be spent wisely, and in fact as you know, this year the ridership is up."

The two ships — Confederation and Holiday Island —  take approximately 475,000 passengers annually on the route, which connects a local section of the Trans-Canada Highway.