Ontario shipyard withdraws complaint alleging federal favouritism toward Davie

OTTAWA — An Ontario shipyard is ending its bid to have a trade tribunal determine whether the federal government’s plan to add a third shipyard to Canada’s multibillion-dollar shipbuilding strategy has been rigged in favour of a Quebec company.

Last month, Hamilton-based Heddle Marine asked the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to launch an investigation, alleging some of the requirements needed to qualify for consideration as the third yard seemed aimed at disqualifying all contenders except Quebec’s Chantier Davie.

The federal procurement department subsequently amended some of the requirements, but Heddle asked the tribunal to press ahead with its probe.

The government then invoked a national-security exception that prevents such investigations.

The tribunal was still weighing how to respond to the government when a lawyer for Heddle notified it last week that the Ontario shipyard was withdrawing its complaint, without providing a reason.

The third shipyard will be tasked with building at least six new icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard, whose own icebreaker fleet is on its last legs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2019.

The Canadian Press