FREDERICTON – Following revelations by Radio-Canada that New Brunswick tax dollars will be used to build a dry dock that will operate in Quebec, NDP Leader Dominic Cardy called for an immediate suspension of the deal between the Government of New Brunswick and the Bas Caraquet shipyard, pending a full review of corporate welfare programs by the Auditor General. The Auditor General has called for such an examination in her annual report, a recommendation ignored by the Gallant Liberals.
“New Brunswick can’t afford to float the Liberals’ boat any longer,” said Cardy. “Spending $13 million dollars –and probably a whole lot more by the time we’re finished- to build a dry dock that will operate, permanently, from Quebec, is inexplicable, irresponsible, and just plain dumb. This government is addicted to corporate welfare. It has to stop before we find ourselves trapped into spending more and more money we don’t have to give to companies from other provinces.”
The original proposal was that the shipyard be built at a cost of $29 million and leased for 20 years to Groupe Océan. With the shipyard insolvent the government agreed to fund the construction of the dry dock and assume ownership of the yard.
“We are paying Groupe Océan to build them a dry dock that will then, literally, sail away. The costs: all ours. The profits: all theirs. This has to stop.”
The NDP has long called for an end to all direct subsidies to specific businesses, citing the billions spent on failed economic development schemes and their failure to create jobs or opportunity for New Brunswickers.