Port aux Basques council and chamber pleased with recent Oceanex outcome
PORT AUX BASQUES, NL – Representatives from the Town of Port aux Basques and the Port aux Basques and Area Chamber of Commerce are pleased with the recent federal court decision to dismiss an Oceanex claim for a judicial review of Marine Atlantic subsidies.
“This decision is a victory for Newfoundland,” Mayor John Spencer wrote to the Gulf News via email.
Todd Strickland, vice-president of the Port aux Basques and Area Chamber of Commerce, said the decision is most definitely a positive outcome for the town, area and the entire province.
“It gives reassurance that Marine Atlantic is here in our town and … able to put focus back on their priorities and their service as a whole, which will benefit Channel-Port aux Basques.
“We the chamber are very happy with this court decision and are hoping to … help grow the relationship with Marine Atlantic and the Port aux Basques and Area Chamber of Commerce.”
Natashua Osmond, the chamber’s managing coordinator, also reacted to the decision.
“The chamber is overjoyed with the decision they have made between Oceanex and Marine Atlantic. We have an awesome relationship with Marine Atlantic and hope to keep it that way for years to come. Marine Atlantic is a big part of this community and without them, we would be lost.”
Now that the Oceanex challenge is over, Spencer says it’s time “to focus on Transport Canada’s fixation that Marine Atlantic recover 65 per cent of its operational cost.
“This draconian measure sucks the lifeblood out of the spirit of Newfoundland’s Terms of Union with Canada,” he said. “It forced fares, and freight rates, up. The negative fallout results in a damaged Newfoundland economy.”
Operational cost recovery was not the deal envisioned when Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation in 1949, the mayor said.
“This cost recovery ratio has been steadily rising over the last 20 years up from 45 per cent in the 1990s,” he said. “Justin Trudeau had publicly lambasted the former prime minister Stephen Harper for the Conservatives’ fixation on cost recovery on the Newfoundland ferry system. The time is now right for Mr. Trudeau’s government to pony up.”
Workers prepare the Oceanex Avalon for departure from the port of Corner Brook.