“This government has displayed rank inconsistency in its approach to economic development and the issue of transportation,” said Yarmouth MLA Zach Churchill.
“Here in Southwest Nova the premier wasn't willing to provide a needed three million dollars to continue the ferry, a major economic generator for the province, yet his government continues to subsidize every other ferry in the province and CB Rail because, he says, they are economic drivers.”
Churchill says the decision shows that the NDP is still flying by the seat of its pants when it comes to governing the province and that there is no consistency, no vision, and no real plan to improve the entire province.
He points out that in 2005 the Tory government justified the CB rail subsidy in the hopes that it would be "sustainable.”
“Here we are six years later and the NDP is still saying the exact same thing. Meanwhile the premier cut our critical transportation link to New England that was producing significant profits for Nova Scotians. How this makes sense to anybody, I don't know.”
Argyle MLA Chris d'Entremont says the same reasoning Premier Darrell Dexter is using to continue supporting the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway applies to keeping a ferry link from Yarmouth to Maine.
“In a news release, Premier Darrell Dexter claimed, ‘Our investment will preserve a key piece of transportation infrastructure for the future of the region’,” said d'Entremont.
“The premier acknowledges that both the ferry link and the rail link are vital pieces of infrastructure to the regions they are located in, bringing economic development and jobs,” he added.
“I can’t explain to families in southern Nova Scotia how the NDP decided that one was worth the effort and one was not. They are both important economic links.”
D’Entremont says the loss of the ferry for the 2011 tourism season has caused hardship in a region already struggling with unemployment.
“The ferry was a link to all of Nova Scotia. Its arrival in Yarmouth was just the start of the positive economic spin-offs that were felt as far as Cape Breton.
“The premier should admit he was wrong and find a solution to get ferry service back before it’s truly too late.”
D’Entremont says the South Shore and South West Nova weren’t afforded the same support and time to make a ferry route viable. “This government is making it all up as they go along,” he said.
“Their handling of this shows they don’t know what they're doing with our economy.”