HALIFAX _ The chief executives of the two Canadian shipbuilders selected to build the federal government's next generation of ships are defending their ability to create the vessels on time and on budget. Jim Irving , chief executive of Irving Shipbuilding Inc. , and Kyle Washington , owner of Seaspan , issued a public letter on Thursday critical of a report issued last week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Rideau Institute . The report argued the shipbuilding deal gives the two companies a "blank cheque" for the decades-long $105-billion program, including construction and lifetime refit for navy and coast guard ships. The two shipyard executives respond in their open letter that if they fail to deliver the ships within agreed budgets and deadlines, the deals allow the federal government to use other shipbuilders. Their letter also says detailed quotes for each ship's construction are sent to the federal government, which then has a third party ensure they are accurate. The chief executives say Seaspan is investing $200 million and Irving Shipbuilding is spending $300 million to revive a world-class shipbuilding industry that will provide Canadians with jobs and expertise.
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