Grohmann loses DND knife contract
May wants to know why knife supplier in MacKay's riding lost out to Chinese firm
By The Canadian Press
Tue. Sep 16 - 2:49 PM
OTTAWA — Green Leader Elizabeth May is asking Defence Minister Peter MacKay why his department has dropped a knife supplier based in his own riding in favour of one in China.
Used by paratroopers to cut their harness, Grohmann Knives' top-quality No. 3 knife was a standard order in an annual contract for decades.
Grohmann is a stalwart industry in MacKay's Central Nova riding, where May is challenging the perennial Tory seat once held by his father and former cabinet minister Elmer MacKay.
May says Grohmann's reputation for quality, durability and reliability is ``exceptional and unquestioned.''
In an unusual turn for a Green party leader, May found herself going to bat for the military today.
She says she wonders what kind of other ``shoddy, non-Canadian goods'' are being purchased for Canadian soldiers under federal cost-cutting measures.
She says Grohmann met with MacKay to discuss the matter in June and has not received replies to its queries.
``We must not cut corners on the quality of equipment required by our troops,'' she said. ``Ideally, our military should choose Canadian-made goods.''
She noted Public Works Minister Christian Paradis suggested recently that if Canadian-built vessels for the navy and coast guard were too expensive, he would buy them elsewhere.
That threatens thousands of Atlantic Canadian jobs, said May, who plans a cross-country whistle-stop tour next week.
Meanwhile, a submarine contract for retrofits went to British Columbia, despite the fact it will cost more, she said.
``The only common denominator from the Harper government is that contracts do not come to Atlantic Canada,'' she said.
In an attempt to avoid splitting the vote, May and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion agreed last year not to run opposing candidates in their respective ridings.
MacKay defeated his NDP rival in the 2006 election by almost 3,300 votes.
May has booked a private train car and plans to leave Vancouver on Sunday attached to a Via Rail train on its regularly scheduled route.
The tour will end near her Nova Scotia riding after making multiple five- to 10-minute stops in dozens of towns, cities and villages along the way.
May says she will get off the train at key stops to speak to party supporters.