18 octobre 2018 |
BY TIM BOUSQUET
In recent days, Unifor Marine Workers Federation Local 1, which represents Irving Shipyard workers, has been conducting a “Ships Stay Here” campaign that included getting Halifax council to support its efforts. The union fears that some of the shipbuilding work contracted to Irving will be shifted to Davie Shipyard in Quebec.
Alex Cooke of the Canadian Press contacted the federal government to ask about that fear:
In an emailed statement to The Canadian Press last week, the Department of National Defence spokeswoman Ashley Lemire said the government intends to announce any changes to planned maintenance on Halifax-class frigates in the coming weeks.
“Given the planned work for the Royal Canadian Navy, an option with two maintenance and repair facilities to conduct this work beginning in the 2020 timeframe is being considered,” Lemire said.
“Keeping these frigates operational is a priority for us, and being able to ensure all the maintenance is done when required is essential.”
Lemire added that Irving is the prime contractor for the Canadian Surface Combatant project, which she said will result in an estimated $30 billion in build contracts for Irving Shipbuilding into the 2040s.
However, “a spokesperson for Davie Shipbuilding strongly takes issue with comments that the Quebec company is stealing work from Halifax,” reports Jacob Boon for The Coast:
“It's being portrayed as if Quebec will steal jobs, contracts from Irving,” says Fred Boisvert, vice-president of public affairs for Davie. “Where if you look properly, closely, there's nothing like it happening at all.”
Boisvert says that's all a bit rich. No one in their right mind could believe there are production gaps at Irving, he says, given the sum total of $65 billion in federal contracts the shipyard has secured.
“Guys, guys, you got $65 billion,” he says. “I mean, please, you won't get a tear from me. You're flush with contracts. You've got 20 years stability in terms of that shipyard.”
Davie has laid off some 1,000 workers itself over the past year due to dwindling federal contracts. “We're bleeding people here,” says Boisvert.
Both companies have been on a lobbying blitz in Ottawa.
Davie has hired consultant Naresh Raghubeer of Elmvale Strategies Inc. to lobby the federal government with regard to “shipbuilding work for National Defence, Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, as well as exports.”
Raghubeer has made 32 reportable lobbying contacts this year, 11 of them in September alone (October reports are not yet published).
The September contacts include conversations with multiple lobbyist targets at once (the reports don't say if they were in-person or conference calls), including with MPs Joel Lightbound, Steve MacKinnon, Remi Masse, Michel Picard, Luc Berthold, Steven Blaney, Gerard Deltell, Bernard Genereux, Jacques Gourde, Richard Marte, Alain Rayes, Jean-Yves Duclos (the minister of Employment and Social Development), Marc Garneau (the minister of Transport Canada), and François-Philippe Champagne (the minister of Infrastructure Canada).
As well, in September Raghubeer talked with Senators Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, Claude Carignan, Jean-Guy Dagenais, Larry Smith, Pierre Dalphond, Denis Dawson, Eric Forest, Rosa Galvez, and Andre Pratte.
Raghubeer's September lobbyist efforts also including conversations with a range of political functionaries, including (twice with) Martin Belanger, the Policy Advisor to the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition; Taras Zalusky, the Policy Advisor to Carla Qualtrough, the minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada; Mathieu Bouchard, a Senior Advisor at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO); Dominic Cormier, a Policy Advisor to the PMO; John Ma, a Policy Advisor to Harjit Singh Sajjan, the minister of DND; (twice with) Shane McCloskey, a Policy Advisor to Marc Garneau, the minister of Transport Canada; Christina Rettig, a Policy Advisor at the PMO; George Young, the Chief of Staff to Jonathan Wilkinson, the minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); Marc-Andre Leclerc, the Chief of Staff of the Leader of the Official Opposition; Sriram Raman, a Policy Advisor to François-Philippe Champagne, the minister of Infrastructure Canada; Marc Roy, the Chief of Staff to to Marc Garneau, the minister of Transport Canada; Jenny Demers, a Policy Advisor to Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister at ESDC; and Olivier Duchesneau, Chief of Staff to minister Duclos.
For its part, lobbying efforts on behalf of Irving Shipyard are conducted by James Irving, the co-CEO of the shipyard. Irving reported 70 lobbying contacts in 2018, but just six of those were in September. Unlike Raghubeer, who speaks with multiple people at once, Irving tends to speak to one or two people at a time.
James Irving's September contacts were with Taras Zalusky, the director of Policy, Procurement and Parliamentary Affairs Public Services and Procurement Canada; John Ma, a Policy Advisor to Harjit Singh Sajjan at DND; Eric Dagenais, the Assistant Deputy Minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; John Knubley, the Deputy Minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Elliott Hughes, the Director of Policy at DND; Christina Rettig, a Policy Advisor at the PMO; and Justin To, the Director of Policy at the PMO.