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Opposition all over Nova Scotia government for Bay Ferries file

Bay Ferries says it is refunding all sailings that have been booked on The Cat and it is no longer accepting new reservations for the 2019 sailing season until there is a definitive answer of when the ferry will sail.
- Tina Comeau

The province’s commitment to try to salvage the stalled Yarmouth to Maine ferry service this season was met with sharp criticism by opposition members on Thursday.

Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said the province is still working to get the ferry service, which was originally expected to start sailing on June 21, in compliance with United States Customs and Border Protection regulations.

He also said there is a small amount of construction work to be completed on the Yarmouth terminal.

“We are committed to that service,” said Hines. “If we can get some sails in this year we intend to do that. We are not just being facetious about this. We were very hopeful that we would be farther along prior to now.

Figures released by the Liberal government last month show the province had originally estimated spending $10.9 million on the service for the 2018-19 fiscal year, but that figure ballooned to $24 million by the end of the fiscal year.

Tory MLA Tim Halman likened the province’s latest commitment to a skit out of a Monty Python movie.

“It’s impacted business in southwest Nova enormously,” said Halman. “What we get is just comical answers from the government. Real businesses are suffering as result of the government’s inability to clearly communicate what the plan is moving forward.”

NDP Leader Gary Burrill echoed Halman’s sentiments, calling the province’s handling of the ferry service an “unmitigated bomb out with very serious consequences for major sectors of the communities and the economy of the southwest part of the province.”

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