Hosed again: City of Portland to receive ferry passenger counts, Nova Scotians still left in the dark

June 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Every time McNeil negotiates, Nova Scotia loses says PC leader

HALIFAX, NS – Every time Stephen McNeil sits across from someone at a negotiating table, Nova Scotia loses, says Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie.

According to media reports from Maine, under Portland’s docking contract for the Cat ferry, “the city will receive monthly reports on how many paying passengers and cars the ferry lands and takes…that information, city officials say, is open to the public.”

Stephen McNeil’s Liberals say Bay Ferries Ltd., the boat’s operators, won’t let them release passenger counts to Nova Scotia taxpayers, who are heavily subsidizing operations.

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“Why is it that every time Stephen McNeil tries to make a deal with someone, Nova Scotia always loses?” asks Baillie. “We can’t afford a Premier gullible enough to keep locking us into bad deals like this. Stephen McNeil is incapable of negotiating a good deal and that’s holding Nova Scotia back.”

Baillie has been calling for Stephen McNeil and Bay Ferries Ltd. to release passenger counts to Nova Scotians for weeks. Instead of being transparent with Nova Scotians, the Premier has been defensive and deflective, relying on over-the-top political rants.

Baillie says it’s not fair that Portland is entitled to passenger counts while Nova Scotians are told no and Stephen McNeil accepts that.

Furthermore, since Portland is allowed to release the information to the public, Baillie says the Liberals’ secrecy is a moot point.

“All of this just proves Stephen McNeil and the Liberals had no idea what they were signing when they committed Nova Scotia taxpayers to this expensive and one-sided contract,” said Baillie. “It’s time for a government that knows how to get a good deal for Nova Scotians.”

Baillie says he will continue to press Stephen McNeil and Bay Ferries Ltd. to be honest with Nova Scotians.

“Like it or not, we’re shareholders now and we want our information,” he said.

The Progressive Conservatives support a sustainable ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine, but Nova Scotians need to know they can trust their government leaders to be good negotiators on their behalf.