New Pelee Island Ferry controversy continues

A shipbuilder in Wheatley, Ont. is still trying to fight a decision made by the Ontario government to award a contract to build a new Pelee Island ferry to a company in Chile.
Pelee Islander, one of the ferries operating between the mainland and Pelee Island, will be delayed due to ice on Lake Erie.

A shipbuilder in Wheatley, Ont. is still trying to fight an Ontario government decision to award a Chilean company a contract to build a new Pelee Island ferry. 

ASENAV, a ship-building company located in Valdivia, Chile, was awarded the contract last week.

This has angered Andy Stanton of Hike Metal who thinks he should have had a chance to bid on the project. 

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca sent CBC News a statement saying the ministry had to go out of the country, because it could not find a firm in Canada that had the capacity to build the ferry. 

Originally, the province was going to meet with Stanton in mid July for a debrief meeting on why his firm was shut out of the bidding process, but Stanton said he's set to meet with officials on June 23. 

Stanton said he is still contemplating asking for a court injunction to put on hold the awarding of the contract to give him a chance to fight it.

He believes the ferry is going to be subject to a federal tariff of 25 per cent of the cost because it is less than 129 metres long.

But Canada has a free trade agreement with Chile and according to a spokesperson in the federal finance department, that exempts Chile from the tariffs.

"With respect to originating ships imported from the U.S. or Chile, these would be entitled to duty-free treatment under the tariff treatments established pursuant to their respective free trade agreements with Canada,"  spokesperson Stephanie Rubec told CBC News. 

Investments should be made in Ontario

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak said the province needs to commit itself to job creation in the Windsor-Essex area.

"For infrastructure or multi-modal transportation these are investments that people want to see us make in our own province," said Natyshak. "It's supporting your own people, its using your money to stimulate the economy. It is a measure and the metrics of stimulus."

Natayshak said when Hike Metal partnered with the Quebec firm Chantier-Davie to put in a bid, it was only five per cent higher than ASENAV, so he can't see why the firm was chosen. 

The difference was a total of $2 million.

Natayshak said he`s written to the premier and Minister Del Duca for more information. He said he'll bring this issue up in the legislature in the fall. 


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