Report warns that ferry cuts will mean economic damage to the North

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VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government is ignoring a report from the City of Prince Rupert that warned that ferry service cuts will do serious and widespread damage to the northern B.C. economy, say the New Democrats.

“Today we asked the B.C. Liberal ferries minister why his government failed to do a single economic impact study prior to announcing its ferry service cuts, and asked why he refuses to back down from these damaging cuts,” said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

“The minister failed to respond to the findings in the report, simply reiterating that his government made ‘tough decisions.’ How tough were these decisions when this minister didn’t even bother to look at the economic impact the cuts will have, or attend a single community consultation to hear from people how these cuts would impact their lives?

“Now, he is refusing to meet with the hundreds of people who came to Victoria to protest these cuts. The truth is, this minister is all about easy decisions, not tough ones.”

The report from the City of Prince Rupert did the work the B.C. Liberal government should have done prior to announcing these cuts, noted Rice.

“This report raises serious concerns about the negative message the cuts send to investors, the serious direct effects they will have on businesses, and the impact they will have on the $1 billion tourism industry in the North, and on tourism throughout the province,” said Rice.

“I raised the concerns of just a few of the businesses that will be impacted in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, but again, the minister had nothing but excuses for people who stand to lose their livelihoods because of this government’s insufficient research and reckless cuts.”

Since the B.C. Liberals brought in the Coastal Ferry Act in 2003, they have failed to curb rising fares, declining ridership, growing debt, and exorbitant executive salaries at B.C. Ferries.