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Premier Clark pleased Seaspan won federal ship building contract

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark welcomed news Vancouver's Seaspan Marine Corp. has won an $8 billion contract to build non-combat vessels for the Canadian government.

"While I was absolutely confident throughout the process, you're still on the edge of your seat," Clark told reporters, having welcomed them into the BC Liberal caucus room moments after the bid results were announced.

The bid was the beginning of her government's jobs plan and will result in thousands of high-paid jobs, she said. It will give the industry stability and provide work for generations of workers, she said.

"$8 billion is huge," she said. "At a time like this, when the world is experiencing all this economic uncertainty, it is going to be big."

A $25 billion contract for combat ships went to Nova Scotia's Irving Shipbuilding. That contract was for $12.5 billion in ships, the remainder being for things like guns needed for combat, so really wasn't that much larger than the contract Seaspan won, she said.

The government promised $40 million for training and BC Ferries promised $20 million if the combat ship contract was won. Clark said those amounts would be reduced to reflect the smaller size of the contract Seaspan won, but did not have the final figure.

"This was a product of a lot of work," she said. "Clearly it was a great bid."

In May Clark's first speech as premier in the B.C. legislature was in support of a private members' bill encouraging Seaspan in its bid.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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