Provincial Shipbuilding Act would benefit province’s economy, create jobs

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VICTORIA – Legislation introduced today would nurture B.C.’s shipbuilding industry, benefit the province’s economy, and create jobs, say the B.C. New Democrats.

“If passed, the Provincial Shipbuilding Act would ensure that ferries, seabuses and any other vessels used by or for the public are built in Canada and have the opportunity to provide direct economic benefits here in B.C.,” said New Democrat ferries critic Claire Trevena, adding that the bill would also see a provincial shipbuilding strategy developed.

“B.C. Ferries will be replacing 26 ferries over the next 15 years. If these ferries were built in this province, we would see tremendous growth in this industry. But this would require a commitment from the Liberal government that we have not seen to date. In the past decade, we have added five new vessels to the B.C. Ferries fleet, and none have been built here.”

The bill would also support an expanded provincial apprenticeship program with a requirement that at least 15 per cent of the labour force be enrolled in a recognized B.C. apprenticeship program.

“Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the construction of ferries in Europe and the increased maintenance costs that incurs, this bill would see that this money is invested back in the B.C. economy, creating good jobs for workers here.”

Trevena added that a study by the Columbia Institute showed that the construction of just three ferries in B.C. would add $378.5 million to the provincial economy, and result in $200 million in consumer spending and $100 million in taxes.

“For every 100 jobs created in shipbuilding, 135 additional jobs are created elsewhere. This is an industry that B.C. should be proud of, and passing this legislation would ensure we are doing everything possible to help it thrive,” said Trevena.

“I hope the B.C. Liberal government will show their support for good jobs and our shipbuilding industry by supporting this bill.”