To the Editor:
As I write this, Premier McNeil is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to “repair” the “damaged” Bluenose II reputation. Yes, sometimes it is better to turn the page and move on but it is always important to ask what page is being turned and why.
Maybe what the premier really wants to do is turn the page on the “Bluenose II Preservation Trust” chapter. That one started in 1994 when Liberal Premier John Savage appointed (then) future Liberal Senator Wilfred Moore to head the Trust and ensure the vessel sailed her last days in “dignity”.
Dignity? Instead, she saw the stormy seas of lawsuits, disputes and, of course, a lead role in that messy Liberal sponsorship affair. You know, the one where the federal government allocated $2.3 million for the schooner but it remains a mystery how much actually reached the vessel and where the rest went.
And of course, questions still remain as to who was actually using the vessel during this period and for what purposes? Was it really used for tourism? The premier is right, it was reputation damaging.
And it continued even after the vessel’s “management” was stripped from the Trust in 2005. Management was moved to the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society but the Trust refused to release the money it had raised in the schooner’s name. They fought for seven years! In 2012 the Trust finally turned over about $1.2 million to the Province. What were they fighting? Was all the money accounted for? These questions have never been answered.
Which brings us to the rebuild that Premier McNeil referred to as a “boondoggle,” most of which happened on his watch, as the cost ballooned from $16 to $25 million while his hand is at the rudder.
Maybe we know why the premier wants to turn the page? But just maybe he will answer some of the lingering questions before he spends more of our money to get us to move on.
MLA, Pictou East