FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7th, 2014
MP for Labrador
Yvonne Jones, Member of Parliament for Labrador, is very troubled with the ongoing issues surrounding the Strait of Belle Isle ferry service between Labrador and the Island of Newfoundland.
“I have seen and heard from countless people who have been stranded for many days now due to bad weather and the lack of an icebreaker to assist the passenger ferry that provides this vital link between Newfoundland and Labrador. This has hit people in the province very hard, and many individuals who cannot afford to stay in a hotel night after night, or have not found any rooms available, have been stuck trying to stay warm and wait in their vehicles.”
“The Provincial Government continues to refuse compensation, saying they have no obligation to put up stranded passengers or provide subsidized travel. This is shameful and shows the lack of concern this government has for the many families that are impacted.”
Ms. Jones also commented on the lack of Coast Guard icebreakers to service the Ferry route and questions the timing of removing other icebreakers from service for refit in January.
“I understand that the icebreaker CCGS Henry Larsen was unavailable to assist the MV Apollo, but what I don’t understand is the government’s decision to carry out regular maintenance on icebreakers CCGS Terry Fox and Louis St-Laurent in the month of January, knowing full well that these ships are most vital at this time of year. The government owes the people of Newfoundland and Labrador an answer as to why the decision was made to remove two icebreakers from service in one of the coldest Januarys in a number of years. Not only this, but the response to try and accommodate these stranded travelers has been non-existent. There is no concrete timeline on when service will be restored and this is only further frustrating travelers who have no idea when they will be able to get home.”
For the individuals who are stranded and in need of assistance, Ms. Jones had this to say:
“My offices are open and I and my staff are here to help in any way that we can. My office in the Straits is in L’anse au Loup and the phone is 927-5210. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers until this crisis is resolved.”
Christian von Donat