MacAulay fears dropping P.E.I. bridge toll would kill ferry service

Steve Sharratt
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Cardigan MP has devoted career to protecting Northumberland Ferries, which is in his riding

If the tolls came off the Confederation Bridge, it could sink the Wood Islands ferry to Caribou, N.S., warns Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay.

MacAulay, who has made a career out of protecting Northumberland Ferries, which is in his riding, was reacting to recent calls to ditch the tolls on the Confederation Bridge, which links the Island to New Brunswick.

“If the bridge was suddenly free, you wouldn’t see a car at the Wood Islands or Caribou ferry,” said MacAulay, who is P.E.I.’s representative in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.

“Let’s be very clear, if you’re going to start making things free, you have to make other things free, and how far down the road do you go?”

P.E.I. Senator Percy Downe raised the idea of dropping the tolls on the bridge just before Christmas. The idea gained lots of support.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan even kicked the tires on the concept.

Downe said the Liberal government is not going to charge tolls on the new multi-billion dollar Champlain Bridge in Montreal, so he questioned why Islanders can’t get a similar deal for the Confederation Bridge.

“Islanders will have to rise up and put it on the national agenda,” said the P.E.I. senator.

The current toll on the Confederation Bridge is $46.

While it may be nice, MacAulay said crossing the Confederation Bridge absolutely free is a tough concept to wrap your head around.

He said it would be difficult to break the 35-year-old contract and just do away with the tolls.

“I would think someone would have to pay it out.”

But MacAulay said his No. 1 concern is the ferry service.

“My biggest concern would be the future of the Wood Islands ferry.”

Organizations: Islanders

Geographic location: P.E.I., Wood Islands, New Brunswick Montreal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • sandra
    January 25, 2016 - 11:41

    I love the ferry too but I don't use it. Maybe it is time we get into the now and realize we don't need the ferry. Think of the islanders. We should not have to pay to get off the island ferry or bridge.

  • Pat McGowan
    January 24, 2016 - 20:23

    If the bridge becomes free,goodbye ferry.This will affect the livelihood of so many at the Eastern end of PEI.Maybe the Senator doesn't care about us easterners,but let me tell you we will be hurting businesses,tourism,etc if the ferry goes,not to mention job losses!!!! The world doesn't revolve around Charlottetown and the bridge!!!!!

    • no thanks
      January 25, 2016 - 12:46

      but the world DOES revolve around your area ??

  • no thanks
    January 24, 2016 - 18:47

    typical low level thought process from lawrence--with a bit of good old harper style fear mongering thrown in---and remember we are only islanders and not as important as most regions of canada

  • OH MY
    January 24, 2016 - 10:15

    But MacAulay said his No. 1 concern is the ferry service. “My biggest concern would be the future of the Wood Islands ferry.” "MACAULY" YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN IS THE PEOPLE OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND NOT THE WOOD ISLAND FERRY..

  • Mike
    January 24, 2016 - 10:14

    The Champlain bridge in Montreal is actually owned by the city of Montreal and the province...the Confederation bridge we technically still do not own as stated in our contract with Strait Crossing Inc...pretty straight forward.

  • Fed up
    January 24, 2016 - 08:37

    MacAulay, as usual, doesn't know what he's talking about! The ferry is now almost double the bridge fee, and line-ups still at the ferry. As stated, Kings County folks use the ferry....and anyone (from Charlottetown, east) heading for eastern Nova Scotia, especially Cape Breton...and Newfoundland. The Confederation Bridge should be treated as it is...part of the Trans Canada!!

    • down easter
      January 25, 2016 - 08:39

      The ferry has always been more than the bridge, ever since 1997 when the bridge was $35 and the ferry was in the $50's. Heck, even when the Borden-Tormentine ferry was in place, NFL was more. You know why? Because Wood Islands to Caribou is 1/3 longer distance. More fuel, more operating cost.

  • Dave Pissed
    January 24, 2016 - 00:43

    At least remove the bridge tolls for those people who have medical appointments in NS and NB, esspically when that medica lapointment or proceedure is not or can not be done in PEI . I ISPENT OVER $1000.00 in going to Halifax , and NO NO help from Health PEI BOY DOES THAT SUCK tHEY SAY TAKE THE bUS

    • down easter
      January 25, 2016 - 08:42

      I know lots of people from down east who go to the IWK and the Halifax Infimary for specialist appointments who take the ferry. Maybe if the provincial government is looking at reducing transportation costs for Islanders going to medical appts on the mainland and they are driving themselves, the government can pay the tolls for taking either the ferry or the bridge. Lots of us depend upon and use the ferry.

  • james cross
    January 23, 2016 - 20:50

    All Islanders are urged to support the group for free travel like Quebecers. Alas IFLQ. Islanders free like Quebecers

  • Lisa
    January 23, 2016 - 19:39

    How about a discounted rate for both ferry and bridge for Islanders. There should be a reduced rate for the Provincial beaches as well.

  • joseph
    January 23, 2016 - 19:00

    Yeah, well maybe we dont want to pay to leave where we live? We already pay enough for travels anyway. why is it free to come to the island but you have to pay to leave?

  • Opposition
    January 23, 2016 - 18:41

    You are in power now Sir.Time to write a new headline.

  • Donelda
    January 23, 2016 - 17:36

    I would like to see the bridge toll removed for those that need to cross for medical purposes! I think it's terrible to burden the sick with this cost! If I want to cross the bridge for a trip for fun or shopping then I should have to pay because if I can't afford the toll then I can stay on the Island and shop here!

  • kyle
    January 23, 2016 - 16:37

    Macaulay should stand up for his riding that`s who votes him in and is paid to do. You can not back out on a deal

  • ajakall
    January 23, 2016 - 16:26

    "My biggest concern would be the future of the Wood Islands ferry" Mr. McAulay you are PEI's sole cabinet minister, your biggest concern should be for all of PEI.

  • Dave Anger
    January 23, 2016 - 12:42

    the point is the government is building a a bridge in Quebec and the Federal government is covering the cost of this and it is three times the cost of the confederation bridge. We are being treated as second class citizens.Thanks MR RH Mc Auley!

    • Jeremy
      January 25, 2016 - 08:44

      Blame Mulroney. His government was in power when the agreement was signed between Canada and Strait Crossing to have a privately owned and operated bridge. You can't blame anyone except the government of the day that put pen to ink on a contract that cannot be broken

  • Bob MacDonald
    January 23, 2016 - 11:08

    Now is the time to do it with Trudeau in power making all kinds of promises. I really can't imagine people would be too upset if they shut the ferries down if we had free access to the bridge

  • Doug
    January 23, 2016 - 11:05

    Lawrence should use some common sense. The people who use the ferry are mostly in Kings County and they mostly use it to go to Cape Breton and northern Nova Scotia. Those people aren't going to double the length of their trip to save some money they're going to spend on extra gas anyway. And he's missing the point, that Islanders are being gouged every time they need to leave PEI. Perhaps as our only representative in cabinet Lawrence should stand up for all of us.

  • laurent Beaulieu
    January 23, 2016 - 10:34

    I agree dropping the toll would create all kinds of unforeseen problems. There is no free lunch people want services you got to pay for them.

  • Squirrel
    January 23, 2016 - 10:15

    Lawrence, give you head a shake . The Gov't would save money as it wouldn't have to bail out NFL as it does every year. You can't drive an extra 30 minutes to the Link, boy, . are you spoiled.

  • David
    January 23, 2016 - 10:12

    What we really need is a passenger only train that goes from Halifax to Charlottetown to Moncton and then back to Halifax.

  • JL
    January 23, 2016 - 09:43

    Ferry cuts off significant time traveling to Cape Breton. People will pay for convenience, they do everyday so it might decrease business but it certainly won't sink the ferry service. Charge tourists and cut the fee for islanders in half like the Grand Manan, NB ferry does.

    January 23, 2016 - 09:05

    Once again MacAulay has shown that he is not in office for the benefit of all Islanders but a few who make money from the Ferry service in his own riding. Northumberland Ferries is a private corporation that has been in the pockets of the taxpayers for many many years and yet he is willing to sacrifice the good of all Islanders to keep them and a few jobs in his riding. There are many people who will still take the Ferry even if their is a cost involved just for the trip.

  • Love The Ferry
    January 23, 2016 - 08:48

    Keep the ferry. It's a wonderful 75-minute sailing and is a great help for the tourism industry here. A great way to tour PEI is take the bridge to the island and take the ferry when you leave. Hon. Lawrence MacAulay is a great proponent for the ferry service. He has been very active in asking government to keep the service and so far, success. Keep up that good work Lawrence.

  • Couldbebetter
    January 23, 2016 - 07:20

    So why not give Islanders one or two free passes a year. At least that would be something.

  • david
    January 23, 2016 - 06:41

    Guess Islanders now know where MacAulay's loyalties lie. He maybe the Island Minister in the Cabinet but he sure does not represent the he ay area except for his own area at the Cabinet table. So instead of doing what is good for ALL of PEI he is only concerned about the small number o people who use the ferry service and the heck with the rest of PEI. This should be a clear message to Trudeau that PEI needs a new voice at the cabinet table and one that represent ALL of PEI not just ONE SMALL area.