This is page numbers 6699 – 6756 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 5th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was going.

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Question 933-17(5): Contract Related To The Deh Cho Bridge Construction
Oral Questions

October 6th, 2015

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

The Minister doesn’t address why they weren’t paid. He says everybody else has been paid, and that’s a well-known fact, but the referees that analyze this situation, look at all the claims – there were, I think, about seven or eight of them – and for the most part there were only two acceptable, and those are the referee’s recommendations.

I’d like to ask the Minister to seriously consider these recommendations despite keep going back to the books of a failed company, ATCON. The government took over the project and came to this House for more money. Why can’t we pay all the contractors that are due?

Question 933-17(5): Contract Related To The Deh Cho Bridge Construction
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

The report looked at five different claims by this company. The referee indicated that two of the five claims had technical merit, meaning that he felt that Rowe’s Construction had done the work, so he priced out what he thought had technical merit. Technical merit doesn’t mean that the Government of the Northwest Territories has a legal obligation to pay. It just says that he believes that Rowe’s did the work.

Question 933-17(5): Contract Related To The Deh Cho Bridge Construction
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Menicoche.

Question 933-17(5): Contract Related To The Deh Cho Bridge Construction
Oral Questions

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Yes, Rowe’s did the work, and like any other contractor agreement, even if it’s verbal, they should be paid. That’s what I’m asking the Minister. Why have they not been paid to date?

Question 933-17(5): Contract Related To The Deh Cho Bridge Construction
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

As much as I’ve answered, we are still continuing to work with the company and also with the Government of New Brunswick. As I indicated, Rowe’s has a claim. Two of the five claims add up to approximately what’s left in the budget, and it also adds up to approximately how much deficiencies will cost to complete all of the deficiencies. We would like to have had enough money to pay everyone. Go to New Brunswick. If they had the documentation that we felt that that government would support, then we would have paid it, filed it with the government and had confidence that the money would have been paid. The problem is we needed to prove to that government and the government was going to approve the payment after we made it. Had they not made the approved payment and we didn’t have the proper documentation to make the payment then we would be paying it from this House.

Question 933-17(5): Contract Related To The Deh Cho Bridge Construction
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. The Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m going to chime in here with my colleague Mr. Menicoche. What we’re hearing here today is absolutely hogwash. We’ve got a northern contractor here, the only northern contractor left that has yet to be paid for the work and services they did on the bridge, and we’ve got a referee program that we’ve clearly documented and the government has said we agree with the terms, we just don’t have the money left.

What kind of message are we telling our contractors out there? Please do the work for the government and we’ll pay you when we think or when we feel?

The Minister talks about ATCON and monies left over. Let’s talk about the facts. I’ve got correspondence from June 26thsent to my office from the department that clearly says that the terms of the agreement with the Government of New Brunswick, who secured the ATCON letter of credit, that these funds were to be used for deficiencies in the project caused by ATCON. From the Minister’s own words to my office, we have an amount of $690,707. Why isn’t the Minister using those funds and putting a little pressure on New Brunswick to pay our bills?

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Beaulieu.

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The deficiencies, I think that seems to be the key here. The work was done by ATCON. The money given to us from the New Brunswick government was to clean up the deficiencies. There are deficiencies on the work that Rowe’s had performed for ATCON, as well, and that’s part of the work that we are doing. But the deficiencies to finish the bridge, we have about $700,000 to $800,000 worth of deficiencies still on the bridge. We have about $750,000 in that account. We want to use that money to finish the deficiencies.

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Let’s actually speak about all the numbers, shall we, because we’re kind of dancing and skirting around the issue. As I said, ATCON has a holdback of $696,707, plus this government has a holdback with Ruskin and ATCON for over $958,000. Clearly, we’ve got two pots of money here that could be used to pay the bills that are outstanding to the project. Will the Minister commit to paying this bill?

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

No. Not in this forum.

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Can the Minister indicate why?

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Because we need to provide the documentation to the Government of New Brunswick that will validate the payment. This is not exactly what we got the money for. We got that money to do the deficiencies on the bridge, pay for the deficiencies on the bridge. There is more work to be done on the bridge. There are more deficiencies. This money wasn’t given to us so that we could pay companies that didn’t get all of the payments for the work that they’ve done with a company that went bankrupt.

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Dolynny.

Question 934-17(5): Deh Cho Bridge Referee Claim Review
Oral Questions

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s clear this government expects private industry to pay our financing for projects, and this is unacceptable.

As we said clearly, we went to an arbitrator, we agreed with the arbitration that we owe this contractor money. We’ve got two pots of money that are clearly in detail to use for such things as a payment back to a contractor. We’ve got holdbacks. We’ve got workings with the government. Again, this is a perfect, clear-cut case that we should be paying our bills.

Why is this Minister, why is this Cabinet, why is this government refusing to support local businesses and why aren’t they paying this bill?