Ship­yard ac­cuses feds of un­fairly award­ing con­tract to com­peti­tor

The Prince George Citizen - - News - Lee BERTHIAUME

OTTAWA — An Ontario ship­yard is ac­cus­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of try­ing to un­fairly award Que­bec’s Chantier Davie ship­yard po­ten­tially bil­lions of dol­lars in work with­out a com­pe­ti­tion.

The al­le­ga­tion is con­tained in a com­plaint from Hamil­ton-based Hed­dle Marine to the Cana­dian In­ter­na­tional Trade Tri­bunal over the gov­ern­ment’s search for a third ship­yard to add to its multi­bil­lion-dollar ship­build­ing strat­egy.

The win­ning yard, which will join Hal­i­fax’s Irv­ing Ship­build­ing and Sea­s­pan Marine in Van­cou­ver in the mas­sive naval pro­cure­ment process, will be tasked with building six new ice­break­ers for the Cana­dian Coast Guard. How­ever, Hed­dle al­leges in its com­plaint that many of the re­quire­ments the gov­ern­ment says ship­yards must meet to qual­ify for con­sid­er­a­tion are not le­git­i­mate or rea­son­able – and will dis­qual­ify vir­tu­ally ev­ery yard but Davie.

Hed­dle, which in re­cent years pur­chased the Thunder Bay ship­yards and the Port Weller dry docks, is ask­ing the tri­bunal to or­der the re­moval of the re­quire­ments or the launch of a new search process.

The fed­eral pro­cure­ment depart­ment has not re­sponded to ques­tions posed to it Fri­day. Davie de­clined to com­ment.

Davie, which re­ceived sev­eral fed­eral con­tracts with­out a com­pe­ti­tion in re­cent years and whose sur­round­ing area is likely to be hotly con­tested in the fall fed­eral election, has pre­vi­ously ex­pressed con­fi­dence it will be­come the third yard.

One of the re­quire­ments flagged by Hed­dle, which has pre­vi­ously fo­cused on the re­pair and main­te­nance of ships, is that qual­i­fy­ing ship­yards must have a con­tract now or re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence in building a ship weigh­ing more than 1,000 tonnes.

“No ship­yard in Canada that is el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for the con­tract is ca­pa­ble of sat­is­fy­ing this re­quire­ment ex­cept Chantier Davie Canada,” the com­plaint reads.

Qual­i­fy­ing ship­yards must also be able to launch ves­sels wider than 24 me­tres, which Hed­dle says dis­qual­i­fies all Ontario-based ship­yards be­cause ves­sels must be 23.8 me­tres or less to tra­verse the St. Lawrence Se­away.

Yet Hed­dle says that re­quire­ment doesn’t make sense be­cause the ice­break­ers the third ship­yard will be tasked with building must be able to access the Great Lakes – meaning they must be able to fit through the Se­away. Those re­quire­ments and oth­ers “ap­pear to pre-de­ter­mine and/or un­duly favour Davie as a qual­i­fy­ing sup­plier and un­rea­son­ably dis­qual­ify all other ship­yards, but specif­i­cally Ontario-based ship­yards,” the com­plaint reads.

Hed­dle also takes issue with a lack of in­dus­try con­sul­ta­tion be­fore the search was launched on Aug. 2, and the 15-day dead­line ship­yards were given to re­spond. The dead­line was later ex­tended to Aug. 26.

There are also con­cerns about com­ments made by a Davie of­fi­cial and Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau when he an­nounced the gov­ern­ment’s plan to add a third ship­yard to the na­tional ship­build­ing strat­egy.

“We rec­og­nize that it’s an op­por­tu­nity for Davie to ap­ply to be­come that third ship­build­ing fa­cil­ity be­cause there will be a tremen­dous amount of work in the com­ing years,” Trudeau said in May.


An Ontario ship­yard is ac­cus­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of try­ing to un­fairly award Davie Ship­build­ing in Que­bec po­ten­tially bil­lions of dollar in work with­out a com­pe­ti­tion. The Davie ship­yard is shown in Levis, Que., on Fri­day.

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