From the Globe and Mail:
The Niagara Parks Commission is fending off claims it is tilting a tendering process in favour of the Maid of the Mist, the tour boat company whose exclusive access to Niagara Falls has been controversial for the Ontario government agency.
Last year, after a four-decade monopoly for the Maid’s American owners, the province ordered the parks commission to tender the boat lease, worth more than $5-million a year to the $80-million agency. The order followed complaints in 2008 that would-be competitors had been turned away despite having promised richer returns to the commission, which for four straight years has lost money after more than a century of steady profitability.
A fairness commissioner and outside experts were appointed to prevent bias in the tender, but certain clauses in the bid document – drafted by the same parks officials who supported the Maid monopoly in the past – are raising questions about its fairness, and about Ontario’s efforts to improve its stewardship of Niagara Falls, a jewel of Canadian tourism and beacon to travellers around the world.