Open Letter To Premier Wynne re: Pelee Island Ferry Construction Contract

The Honourable
Kathleen O. Wynne, MPP
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building,
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Re: Pelee Island Ferry Construction Contract

Dear Premier:

I am writing to you today to convey the outrage of my community, and echo that of communities throughout Southwestern Ontario with respect to the announcement that the contract to construct the long-awaited new ferry vessel for Pelee Island has been awarded to an overseas company.

Premier, as you are well aware, the Province of Ontario has lost 300 000 manufacturing jobs in the last 10 years. The weight of that dismal record is borne disproportionately in the southwest. My community of Windsor Essex has been at the epicenter of the decline of domestic manufacturing, and that is reflected in an unemployment rate that is now above 11% and has been near the top of that ignominious category for the entire nation for much of the last 10 years. To add insult to injury, a local firm which has many years of history in the ship building industry was shut out of the tender process.

Your government often speaks about making investments to grow our economy, but here with an opportunity to use public procurement with public dollars to ensure more than 300 person years of work building a public infrastructure asset, your process will see that money and those jobs go overseas.

Working people in Windsor and Essex County want to know why their government would choose to support the ship building industry in Chile, rather than support the very skilled and productive workers and industry we have right here in Southwestern Ontario. Further, Hike Metal Products Ltd deserves an answer as to why they were disqualified from this process.

Can you provide these answers to the people and businesses here in Southwestern Ontario and assure us all that your government will conduct a transparent review of the process to spend $40 million on a public infrastructure asset without regard for the local workforce?

Sincerely,

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Taras Natyshak MPP Essex