Nova Scotia premier: Bluenose rebuild a “boondoggle”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says the rebuilding of the iconic Bluenose II has become a “boondoggle” for taxpayers, and has asked the province’s auditor general to look into the matter.

The replica of the iconic racing schooner that graces the Canadian ten-cent coin is now two years late and millions over budget.

McNeil blames the delays on political theatre, specifically the “antics” of the previous NDP government.

McNeil’s Liberal government was under fire earlier this week when the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released documents showing the consortium of three firms rebuilding the ship is routinely adding large mark-ups on the invoices they submit to the province.

The CTF says  in one case the province purchased two washing machines and two dryers at a total cost of $5,399.96. The builder charged a 43 per cent or $2,321.98 mark-up.

The premier says his government’s priority is making sure the iconic schooner returns to regular sailing this spring.

The replica Bluenose II was built in 1963 for around $300,000 (roughly $2,260,000 when adjusted for inflation), and sold to the government of Nova Scotia in 1971 for $1.

The Bluenose II serves as a goodwill ambassador for the province, and a tourist attraction in the historic town of Lunenburg. During the summer, the schooner calls into ports around Nova Scotia and down the eastern seaboard.

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