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Ottawa set to award contract to build two ferries to Quebec’s Davie shipyard

MONTREAL - Quebec’s Davie shipyard is in line to receive a contract for the construction of two East Coast ferries, the federal government announced Friday.

Ottawa will issue an Advance Contract Award Notice to the Chantier Davie, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement. That type of notice is awarded to a company the government believes is the only such firm capable of performing the work.

Any other company that thinks it can meet the contract requirements has 15 days to notify the federal government. But Davie vice-president Frederick Boisvert said in an interview Friday he thinks it’s done deal.

Ottawa’s maritime strategy states that ships bought by the federal government must be built in the country. The other major shipyards in Canada — in Vancouver and Halifax — are overloaded with work, Boisvert said.

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards and Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax received contracts under the Conservative government worth tens of billions of dollars to build military vessels while Davie was left out.

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Garneau’s statement said Ottawa concluded that “Chantier Davie is the only known Canadian shipyard with the capacity, recent experience and capability to build these ferries in the required timeframe.”

The two new ships will replace MV Madeleine, which ferries passengers between Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Que., and Souris, P.E.I., as well as MV Holiday Island, which ferries people between Wood Islands, P.E.I., and Caribou, N.S.
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