Irving lobbies hard for shipbuilding deal
Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is waiting for word on a major shipbuilding deal that is expected on Wednesday — the culmination of three years of actively lobbying federal officials for the $35-billion deal.
Irving Shipbuilding, which owns the Halifax Shipyard, is one of three bidders for the contract to build warships and military supply vessels, which is the biggest military contract in Canadian history.
Multiple sources have confirmed to CBC News the announcement will be made at 5 p.m. AT on Wednesday.
The federal lobbyist registry shows Irving Shipbuilding had 115 meetings or contacts with federal officials over the last three years to lobby on the shipbuilding deal.
Lobbyists with two different firms contacted ministers, MPs, policy advisors and bureaucrats to press the case.
But the Halifax Shipyard's busiest lobbyist appears to be the company itself.
Among the 115 meetings, 78 of the contacts involved Irving officials meeting or speaking with cabinet ministers including Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Tony Clement, the former industry minister.
The federal lobbyist registry names the lobbyist involved in the project and the politicians or civil servants they met with. Ottawa's online registry of lobbyists ensures these contacts are made public.
But all those meetings with ministers may not affect the decision. The Conservative government has set up an arm's length process that keeps politicians locked out of the decision.
Irving Shipbuilding is competing against Seaspan Marine Corp. in Vancouver and the Davie shipyard in Lévis, Que.
The deadline for proposals was extended by two weeks to July 21, which allowed the Davie bid to be submitted mere hours before the deadline.
The Davie shipyard had been in creditor protection since February 2010, and had to prove to the government that it was solvent in order to be considered qualified to bid.
The shipbuilding contract could be divided into a series of different deals.
There is a $25-billion combat vessel construction deal, and a second contract that could be awarded on the non-combat ships. That contract is worth $8 billion.
There is also an estimated $2 billion in construction work for smaller, non-combat ships.