National Newswatch

Rising costs drain contingency fund for Canada’s new fisheries science ships

Jan 6 2020 — Paul Withers — Escalating costs at the Seaspan Shipyard in Vancouver in 2019 depleted the multi-million dollar contingency fund set aside as part of the budget to build three offshore fisheries science vessels under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Franklin and CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier were delivered in 2019, and a third ship […]

Trudeau and McNeil meet in Ottawa, praise each other

Dec 11 2019 — Paul Withers — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil exchanged praise and pleasantries in a brief appearance before the cameras in Ottawa Tuesday afternoon. Trudeau has been meeting with premiers following his re-election win, which resulted in a minority government. Unlike some other premiers, McNeil has been a vocal supporter of the federal government, […]

New contract for federal scientists enshrines right to speak to media

Jun 20 2019 — Paul Withers — The Trudeau government has locked in the right of federal scientists to speak to the media on science for another four years in a new collective agreement. The “scientific integrity” clause was first written into a 2017 collective agreement and enshrined the right to speak about science and their research without being designated a departmental […]

How biometric data-sharing with U.S. is barring Mexican workers from Canada

May 3 2019 — Paul Withers — A new Canadian immigration biometric screening requirement is worsening a chronic labour shortage at Maritime seafood processing plants, just as the two lucrative fisheries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are about to open. CBC News has learned applications from 11 Mexican temporary foreign workers were rejected last month because biometric data indicated they did […]

Coast guard’s $227M ships rock ‘like crazy,’ making crews seasick, unable to work

Feb 11 2019 — Paul Withers — Canada’s $227-million fleet of mid-shore coast guard vessels are rolling “like crazy” at sea, making crews seasick and keeping some ships in port during weather conditions where they should be able to operate, CBC News has learned. Canadian Coast Guard records and correspondence obtained under federal access to information legislation raise questions about the patrol […]

Independent senators tell Trudeau to act on ‘dangerous’ Northern Pulp plan

Nov 27 2018 — Paul Withers — Mike Duffy is among four independent senators from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island demanding a full federal environmental assessment of the plan to release treated pulp mill effluent into the Northumberland Strait. The senators say Northern Pulp’s “dangerous project” could damage the fishery in the Maritime provinces and Quebec’s Magdalen Islands. “Ottawa has no […]

Halifax longshoremen criticize Brison on lack of port funding

Oct 16 2018 — Paul Withers — Halifax longshoremen are criticizing Nova Scotia’s federal cabinet minister, claiming he has failed to support efforts to modernize the Port of Halifax. Treasury Board president Scott Brison has defended the Trudeau government’s refusal to fund a major expansion at the port, saying the proposal raises multiple issues. Kevin Piper, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association […]

Inside the failed fight for federal funding for Port of Halifax

Oct 11 2018 — Paul Withers — Nova Scotia’s federal cabinet minister is defending the Trudeau government’s refusal to fund a major expansion at the Port of Halifax while pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into rival Canadian ports. Treasury Board president Scott Brison says the proposed $35-million expansion of the Halterm container pier raises multiple issues, including truck traffic in downtown […]

Canada loses bid to overturn NAFTA ruling on rebuffed N.S. quarry

May 2 2018 — Paul Withers — New Jersey company behind quarry proposal in Digby Neck stands to get $443M US in lost profits. The Federal Court of Canada has dismissed Canada’s application to overturn a potentially expensive NAFTA ruling that it wrongly denied a U.S. company permission to open a quarry in Digby Neck, N.S.

Costs pile up from delayed Canadian Coast Guard vessel refit

Nov 20 2017 — Paul Withers — The Canadian Coast Guard has been forced to spend more than $2.5 million this fall to charter vessels to carry out at-sea science surveys because a much-delayed refit has left its own research ship unavailable. Canada’s East Coast ocean monitoring program usually takes place on the CCGS Hudson, but the 54-year old vessel is still […]

$4M refit contract for coast guard research vessel under review

Oct 16 2017 — Paul Withers — The Canadian Coast Guard and a Hamilton shipyard are reviewing whether taxpayers will pay the full $4-million contract for a much delayed refit of an oceanographic research ship. The CCGS Hudson was towed out of Heddle Marine on Oct. 6, months behind schedule and the refit work not completed. The ship was supposed to be […]

$4M Canadian Coast Guard ship refit months behind schedule

Aug 29 2017 — Paul Withers — A $4-million refit of the Canadian government ocean science research ship Hudson is months behind schedule in a Hamilton, Ont., shipyard. Heddle Marine was supposed to complete dry dock maintenance on the venerable Canadian Coast Guard ship in May. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not explained the cause of what it calls “these […]