August 18, 2019

Union predicts ferry service privatization> Newfoundland run only one to remain

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — The union representing Marine Atlantic ferry workers said Monday a federal Crown-owned company soon will privatize or drop its routes everywhere except in Newfoundland.

The union is frustrated with the drive toward privatization, Gary Murray of the Canadian Auto Workers Union said.

“We’ve done everything we possibly can in trying to make sure those services are operated as effectively as possible. We’ve been providing a quality service at a quality price,” he said.

The company’s Prince Edward Island service will disappear with construction of the bridge linking the island to New Brunswick.

“The other two services (Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to Bar Harbor, Maine, and Digby, Nova Scotia, to Saint John, New Brunswick,) will in all likelihood be commercialized and privatized,” Murray said.

The partial privatization of the Bluenose ferry run between Nova Scotia and Maine would be the beginning, he said.

The Nova Scotia government is reviewing a dozen private proposals to replace the winter Yarmouth service since Ottawa halted it last month. Marine Atlantic plans to resume the run for the summer tourism season but interested companies say they want a shot at operating it year round.

Murray said the Newfoundland run would stay only because of Ottawa’s constitutional obligation to maintain service to Newfoundland.

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