Mr. Speaker, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, especially the people of Marystown and the Burin Peninsula, were shocked to hear in late August, just a few days before the election was called, that the Conservative government decided to suspend the plan to build joint supply ships for the Canadian navy needed to provide at-sea support to naval task groups and sealift, and support to deploy forces ashore.
The Marystown yard was on the shortlist of two and was seen as the leading contender for the 25 year contract to build and maintain these vessels. It is a significant opportunity to create a stable employment future for a skilled workforce hit hard by the fishery collapse and now forced to travel away for work. The fear is that this opportunity has slipped from its grasp and the government will look offshore. We need a commitment from the government to proceed with this project in Canada, the sooner the better. Canadians have already spent $28 million on the bidding process and it should be concluded with the shortlisted yards.
This is a necessary project for the country and would provide vital economic stimulus in these uncertain times.