British Columbia

Christy Clark slams Buy America policies at Prince Rupert ferry terminal

B.C.'s premier is speaking out about a ferry terminal set to be built in Prince Rupert that is mandated to use American workers and American steel.

B.C. premier upset Buy America policies mean Prince Rupert ferry terminal construction won't use B.C. workers

The Alaska Department of Transportation secured a 50-year lease with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, meaning the ferry terminal it builds in B.C. will use American workers and American steel. (Prince Rupert Port Authority)

B.C.'s premier is speaking out about a ferry terminal set to be built in Prince Rupert using American workers and American steel.

This is our country, it is our land, it is our port- B.C. Premier Christy Clark

The Alaska Department of Transportation issued an invitation to bid that states all iron and steel associated with the project is subject to Buy America provisions — which means the supplies must be procured from the United States.

"The federal government must not allow these Buy American provisions to apply on Canadian soil. It is just not acceptable," said B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

"This is our country, it is our land, it is our port, it is our laws and the Americans are building a facility here in Canada, in our province, where we aren't allowed to have a chance to supply or fabricate the steel. That's just wrong."

The ferry terminal is part of 50-year lease Alaska secured from the Prince Rupert Port Authority last year.

The president of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction — Edward Whalen — said the Buy America provisions are in effect because the project is being funded by the United States government.

"I think it's a result of the federal government not having adequate controls of the private companies that are running our infrastructure," Whalen told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"These ports are kind of running amok.  

Whalen estimated using American workers and materials to build the terminal in Prince Rupert could mean a potential loss of $80 million to the B.C. economy when taking into the "four-times multiplier" into account.

The State of Alaska puts the actual cost of building the terminal somewhere between $10 million and $15 million.

Whalen says he wants to see all levels of government strengthen legislation to prevent future projects from being subject to the same policies.

"We think we have free trade using NAFTA. What we have in reality is one-way trade."


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