Cab­i­net will con­sider ferry fund­ing, says Baird

Cana­dian Forces Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Fare back again for 2010

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY T.J. COLELLO

NORTH SYD­NEY — Trans­port Min­is­ter John Baird said fur­ther in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing for Marine At­lantic will be dis­cussed with his fel­low cab­i­net min­is­ters head­ing into the March 4 bud­get.

“There’s no doubt that the age of the fleet and the cost for keep­ing it in op­er­a­tion is sig­nif­i­cant, so I did a lot of lis­ten­ing and I’ll be re­flect­ing on that with my col­leagues in the weeks and months ahead,” said the Con­ser­va­tive MP for Ottawa West-Ne­pean. “Ob­vi­ously, this is not only im­por­tant for the re­gion, it’s re­ally part of the na­tional high­way sys­tem, it’s part of the Trans-Canada High­way. It’s im­por­tant for both Nova Sco­tia and par­tic­u­larly for New­found­land, so I don’t need to be con­vinced of its im­por­tance.

“We have to mea­sure this with the other de­mands on our bud­get. That’s why it’s im­por­tant for me to come first-hand to see the need, see the story face to face.”

Baird was in North Syd­ney Satur­day for a tour of the Marine At­lantic fa­cil­i­ties, to meet with com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives and to an­nounce the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Cana­dian Forces Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Fare this year.

The dis­counted fare is for cur­rent and for­mer mem­bers of the mil­i­tary and their fam­i­lies.

In Novem­ber, the au­di­tor gen­eral’s of­fice re­leased a re­port on Marine At­lantic that rec­om­mended in­fra­struc­ture for the ser­vice needed to im­prove.

That in­cludes fund­ing for ter­mi­nals and a fleet up­date. Marine At­lantic’s new­est ad­di­tion, the MV At­lantic Vi­sion, has had its share of prob­lems since be­ing launched in April of 2009, in­clud­ing a pair of fires to ther­mal heat­ing units that ul­ti­mately caused de­lays.

In Septem­ber, Peter MacKay, then min­is­ter of the At­lantic Gate­way, an­nounced a $9.5-mil­lion im­prove­ment to the Marine At­lantic dock in North Syd­ney.

It’s an op­por­tu­nity

for us to ex­plain those needs to the min­is­ter and show him first-hand some of the op­er­a­tion and the con­di­tion of

the as­sets. Wayne Fol­lett, pres­i­dent and

CEO of Marine At­lantic

“The min­is­ter, over the last cou­ple of months, has al­ready helped us out on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions on in­fra­struc­ture spending,” said Wayne Fol­lett, pres­i­dent and CEO of Marine At­lantic. “ We still have in­fra­struc­ture needs here at Marine At­lantic. It’s well­known that we have shore fa­cil­i­ties that need up­grad­ing and we have fleet re­newal is­sues. It’s an op­por­tu­nity for us to ex­plain those needs to the min­is­ter and show him first-hand some of the op­er­a­tion and the con­di­tion of the as­sets.”

The ap­pre­ci­a­tion fare an­nounced Satur­day will run from May 1 to Oct. 31 this year. Cana­dian Forces mem­bers and vet­er­ans will ben­e­fit from free passenger fares on the Port aux Basques/North Syd­ney ferry route and will get 50 per cent off their passenger fare on the Ar­gen­tia/North Syd­ney route. Up to three pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling in the same ve­hi­cle on the same reser­va­tion will also get the dis­count.

“I’m very ex­cited that Marine At­lantic is ex­tend­ing a gen­er­ous fare pro­mo­tion to our vet­er­ans and men and women in uni­form,” said Baird. “It was a great suc­cess last year with 10,000 pas­sen­gers tak­ing ad­van­tage of the spe­cial fare. It’s a great way to show our ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the men and women who stand brave on be­half of our coun­try here in Canada and abroad.”

Along with his stop in North Syd­ney, Baird was also sched­uled to speak at a joint fundraiser Satur­day night for the Syd­ney Vic­to­ria Con­ser­va­tive As­so­ci­a­tion and the Cape Bre­ton Canso Con­ser­va­tive As­so­ci­a­tion.

T.J. Colello - Cape Bre­ton Post

Trans­port Min­is­ter John Baird, left, speaks with vet­er­ans Ce­cil MacLeod, cen­tre, past pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 19 in North Syd­ney, and branch pres­i­dent Carl Wall at the Marine At­lantic ter­mi­nal build­ing in North Syd­ney, Satur­day. Baird was in town to tour the Marine At­lantic fa­cil­i­ties and an­nounce the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Cana­dian Forces Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Fare for 2010.

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