FREDERICTON—The New Brunswick government has cancelled a contract to purchase snowplows from a Quebec company after facing criticism from the Opposition and a company based in Hartland, N.B.
Transportation Minister Roger Melanson said Monday that cancelling the contract is the right thing to do.
“We are going to review through the Jobs Board, as part of their mandate to look at opportunities how we can see more job creation in the province of New Brunswick and grow the economy,” he said.
The Jobs Board, which is led by Premier Brian Gallant, is supposed to examine government decisions with a focus on job creation.
“We try to see New Brunswick companies get this type of work as much as possible. In this case it didn’t happen,” Melanson said. “We believe the right thing to do is cancel the contract and to review how things were done and if we can make some improvements.”
The decision to cancel the contract came just hours after Opposition critic Brian MacDonald said the government could have awarded the contract for 27 plows to Craig Manufacturing of Hartland.
“We’re deeply concerned that the province has decided to buy snowplows from Quebec when they could have bought them from New Brunswick companies,” MacDonald said. “That means people from New Brunswick won’t be working and people from Quebec will be working.”
In a letter that has been circulated on social media, Craig Manufacturing owner Ben Craig said his bid was only $60 higher per plow when compared with the Quebec bid.
MacDonald said the New Brunswick government had also increased the order from the Quebec company with another 10 plows.
He said the decision not to go with the New Brunswick company was a case of incompetence.
Craig declined an interview request but he said he has been contacted by the premier’s office to arrange a meeting.
Melanson said he doesn’t know how long the review will take or if a new tender will be issued for the plows.