Mayor Bob Kilger has written to the prime minister, requesting the decision to award an Ottawa company a lucrative contract to produce passport covers be reversed.
The passport covers were produced by Columbia Finishing Mills in Cornwall for the last 30 years, but the Ottawa company has subcontracted the work to a firm in The Netherlands.
In his letter, Kilger notes the strong negative reaction the decision has created in Cornwall and suggests "a few cents" more is an acceptable price to pay for Canadian content.
The full text of the letter is pasted below.
Dear Mr. Harper:
There has been a strong negative reaction to the Government of Canada's recent decision to award a contract for the production of Canadian Passport covers to a new company, one that will see production shift overseas. Canadian Passport Covers are currently being manufactured in Cornwall by Columbia Finishing Mills, a Canadian company owned by Canadians. It is my understanding the loss of the passport contract will result in the loss of jobs at Columbia Finishing Mills, and potentially mean that machines will sit idle and the production capability might eventually be lost.
While the City of Cornwall respects the objective nature of any tendering process, in this particular case we would respectfully ask for a review of this particular decision.
Canadian Passports are more than a necessary legal travel document. Passports are, to many Canadians, the only concrete and physical evidence of their citizenship, and their inclusion in what many people consider to be the best country in the world. As such, the Passport should be produced in Canada, and Columbia Finishing Mills has been a key partner in ensuring that Canadian content was there in the past. A review of the tender decision should consider this question, and take into account the expectations of Canadians. Most would agree, we believe, that a few cents is more than an acceptable price to pay for Canadian Content, especially when costs of production can be covered in the document fee itself.