Port aux Basques coun­cil and cham­ber pleased with re­cent Oceanex out­come

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Editorial - BY ROSALYN ROY Rosalyn.roy@gulfnews.ca Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

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.”

Cost re­cov­ery

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.”

COUR­TESY OF THE WESTERN STAR

Work­ers pre­pare the Oceanex Avalon for de­par­ture from the port of Cor­ner Brook.

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