OTTAWA - The country's top court has dismissed an appeal by an Irving-owned company challenging a multibillion-dollar submarine maintenance contract that went to a competing firm.
As is its usual practice, the Supreme Court of Canada did not give reasons for its decision not to hear the case.
Irving Shipbuilding Inc. of New Brunswick sued the federal government in 2007 after Ottawa informally awarded the first phase of the $1.5-billion contract to B.C.-based Canadian Submarine Management Group.
The Federal Court of Appeal ruled in April the shipbuilder did not have standing to ask for such a review, which was based on suspicions there was bias involved in the contract decision.
The Irving company filed an application with the high court last June.
The Irvings had contended the decision to shut down the legal review limits the ability of all companies to protest government contract decisions.
The contract was put on hold for about a year while the matter was reviewed. But in the end, the Defence Department made it clear that it had no intention of changing its decision.
Irving cried foul because Weir Canada Inc., a partner of the winning bidder, drew up initial plans for the contract's statement of work. The Irving group called that a conflict of interest.
Irving was prime contractor in the construction of Canada's fleet of patrol frigates.
Canadian Submarine Management Group plans to do most of the refit and upgrade work at the Victoria Shipyards on the West Coast.
The former Liberal government bought the used diesel-electric boats from the British in 1997 and a decade later only one - HMCS Corner Brook - is near operational.
HMCS Chicoutimi was sidelined by a fatal fire in 2004. Both HMCS Windsor and HMCS Victoria are undergoing maintenance.