Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Bluenose II returns to the water in Lunenburg, N.S., after an extensive refit on Sept. 29, 2012.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/The Canadian Press

The rebuilding of the Bluenose II, now two years overdue and well over budget, has become such a "boondoggle" that Nova Scotia's Auditor-General needs to investigate it, the Premier said Thursday.

Stephen McNeil said his Liberal government submitted a letter Thursday asking for an audit to be completed some time during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

"We know this has been a boondoggle," he said after a cabinet meeting. "From the day we came into power, we've dealt with this. Our No. 1 focus is to get that boat in the water [this spring]. This is a Nova Scotia icon. It's a Canadian icon."

Story continues below advertisement

The high-profile project has been bogged down by lawsuits, management infighting and political theatre, which the Premier blamed on the previous NDP government.

He said his government is also poised to unveil a new website intended to answer frequently asked questions about the troubled project.

As well, he said a mediator has been called in to settle disputes between the project manager and the shipbuilding consortium hired to do the work.

"There's been a mentality in the last few years of, 'Let's sue everybody and fight with everybody,' " McNeil said.

McNeil's government has had to deal with a series of tough questions about the Bluenose II project since the Liberals were elected to govern in October.

In December, questions were raised about rising project management costs, prompting the heritage minister to call for some kind of review.

Earlier this week, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released documents showing the Lunenburg-based consortium rebuilding the vessel has routinely added hefty markups on the bills it submits to the provincial government.

Story continues below advertisement

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie has been pressing the Liberal government to explain and clean up the political mess left by the previous government.

On Wednesday, Baillie submitted to McNeil a list of 55 questions about the Bluenose II after the Liberal majority on an all-party legislative committee voted down an opposition bid to have the cost overruns examined.

Baillie said he's glad the Auditor-General will be stepping in.

"I'm glad … because we've been asking these questions all week," he said. "But I want to make sure that this is done in a timely way and that the results are there for all Nova Scotians to see."

The original budget for the project was $12.5-million. The latest estimate stands at $16.7-million, but the government has admitted labour costs will push that amount higher.

The Bluenose II, launched in 1963, is a replica of the original Bluenose, the 1921 Grand Banks fishing schooner that won worldwide acclaim for its graceful lines and speed.

Story continues below advertisement

Nova Scotia's 43-metre sailing ambassador was supposed to return to regular sailing in the summer of 2012 after an extensive two-year rebuild.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies