Quebec’s shipbuilding loss straightjackets NDP chief

Bid outcome makes it hard to balance role between national party and regional champion

A ship for every shipyard, a contract in every port. So goes the dream of Nycole Turmel, interim NDP leader and newly minted personification of her party’s awkward tiptoe between national party and regional champion. On Wednesday, Canadian bureaucrats dolled out $33 billion in shipbuilding contracts to yards in B.C. and  Nova Scotia. Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding got the larger share of the cash, $25 billion to build combat vessels. B.C. secured the rest for less martial ships. Left out of the bounty was Quebec, home to 59 New Democrat MPs, including Turmel  herself. “This is great news for Nova Scotia and British Columbia, and I congratulate them wholeheartedly,” Turmel said, according to the Globe and Mail. Good news, but not great. “Canada has the longest coastline in the world,” she continued, “making shipbuilding a critical strategic industry in all corners of this country. This government announcement leaves our Quebec-area shipbuilding in a more fragile position. The Conservatives have to do much more to ensure that Quebec shipbuilding capacity remains stable and that long-term skilled jobs are created.”  “I’m glad you won,” she seemed to say the other provinces. “But can’t we all play a game where nobody loses.” Meanwhile, one New Brunswick economist says his province also stands to gain from Nova Scotia’s win—to the tune of $25 billion over 30 years—and William Watson, in the National Post, wonders why we the tender for the ships wasn’t opened to foreign firms.

Globe and Mail


National Post

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