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August 13, 2018 | Local, Naval

Quebec's Davie shipyard wins $610M contract to convert icebreakers for coast guard

Jean-Yves Duclos, who represents the Quebec City region made announcement Friday

The federal government has signed a $610-million contract to acquire and convert three icebreakers to renew the Canadian Coast Guard's aging fleet.

Federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, who represents the Quebec City region made the announcement at the Davie shipyard in Lévis, which will be doing the work.

The coast guard fleet lacks the capacity to perform its icebreaking duties. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Terry Fox, launched in 1993, is the newest icebreaker in the fleet.

The contract is expected to result in the creation of 200 new jobs over the next two years, according to Davie spokesperson Frédérik Boisvert.

Last year, when Davie was working on conversion of the Asterix and finishing two ferries, Davie employed 1,500 workers, Boisvert said.

Many of them were laid off once the projects were completed.

In June, the Liberal government concluded a deal with Davie to purchase three icebreakers, but there was no price tag attached to the project at the time.

Negotiations to acquire the vessels were launched in January after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abruptly announced the plan in a Radio-Canada interview in Quebec City.

That marked the beginning of a seven-month negotiating process between the government and Davie.

Fraser noted that the usual time it takes to negotiate a shipbuilding contract with the government is eight years, praising the work of negotiators for the government and Davie.

MacKinnon confirmed that Ottawa sped up the process for the icebreaker deal.

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