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But now, Public Services and Procurement Canada, which manages EGD, says spending billions to upgrade the facility is necessary to support the Royal Canadian Navy. Taxpayers should be skeptical.
Of the more than 200 ships projected to use the EGD in the next decade, only 27 are Navy, Coast Guard or other government-owned ships. The rest are all private vessels – including 34 cruise ships.
Obviously, there are plenty of doubts about the ability of the cruise ship industry to rebound in the wake of the pandemic. That’s all the more reason to question the wisdom of the federal government committing taxpayer money to this project. After all, if the primary purpose of the shipyard is to be leased by private businesses for the purpose of servicing other private businesses, what are taxpayers getting out of it besides bearing risk and costs that should be borne by those businesses themselves?
It can’t be the need for a repair shipyard on the West Coast, since there are a number of private facilities already operating.
And this can’t be a job-creation scheme because jobs at the EGD would be coming at the expense of other large shipyards in Canada capable of servicing Navy vessels. At least two, Davie in Quebec City and Irving in Halifax, don’t enjoy the kind of pipeline of taxpayer cash planned for EGD. Is it really fair for these other private shipyards to compete for federal contracts against their west coast competitor that gets a $3-billion leg-up?
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