Canadian Davie Shipbuilding has launched a legal proceeding which questions government support to the Coopérative de transport maritime et aérien’s (CTMA) procurement of a ferry to replace the CTMA Vacancier and the CTMA Voyageur.
The shipbuilder believes that the former government’s support for the acquisition was tainted with serious procedural irregularities and must be suspended and, ultimately, declared invalid.
The outgoing government announced last May that CTMA would be granted financial support to acquire a new ship. In parallel, the government sought to extend the CTMA’s concession to operate the ferry service to the Magdalen Islands until 2020 and then for an additional 20 years.
The announcement was confirmed in a decree enacted on August 17, 2018, as informed by Davie.
CTMA issued an invitation to tender for the building of the new ferry and the first phase of the tender was to be concluded on November 15.
The motion for judicial review presented by Davie Shipbuilding on November 1, alleges that the process leading to the invitation to tender involved a number of “violations of laws and of public order.”
The motion criticizes the government’s attempt mandate CTMA, described as a “cluster of private companies”, to organize a public tender to purchase a vessel, which will be largely paid for from public money.
According to the claim, this role must be fulfilled by the government’s Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), whose mission is to purchase vessels for this purpose in partnership with private enterprises.
The motion also alleges that CTMA didn’t obtain an authorization from the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), as stipulated in the Act Respecting Contracting by Public Bodies. In addition, the claim denounces the attribution of the 20-year concession and the subsidy to CTMA for the procurement of the ferry for having been made without the budgetary appropriations required by law.
The procurement process has been halted and the matter is presently before the courts.