BC Ferries

Will Hahnless BCF now build major ships here?

British Columbia’s shipbuilding industry is happy today, gearing up to work on an $8-billion piece of the largest marine construction program in Canadian history. The federal government takes pride in what they claim has been a painstakingly fair, non-political, capability based process.

A fairness consultant hired to monitor the process, said that, of ten such projects reviewed during his career, this process “was one of the best, if not the best.

In other words, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards competed on a level playing field and proved itself capable of handling a contract 15 times the size of one David Hahn and BC Ferries sent to Germany in 2004 and 60 times larger than for the fourth German ship in 2009.

Today, Premier Christy Clark says,

What this means is we will see thousands of jobs come to British Columbia … thousands of high-paid jobs, people who are going to be able to support their kids, solid middle class jobs and I think it’s so important.

This also puts the lie to a claim by BC Ferries that it had good reasons to go overseas for construction of three Super-C vessels and the vessel Northern Explorer.

The four German built ships were worth about $700-million dollars. BC Liberals refused to allow Vancouver Shipyards to participate in the final bidding process and a contract for the Super-C ferries was awarded to Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. in September 2004. FSG was owned by EGON OLDENDORFF, a private German tramp shipowner that rescued FSG after a four-year bankruptcy. The company changed hands again in 2008.

Clearly, BC workers could have done the work but BC Ferries chose to create 5,000 jobs in Europe instead. They did this despite a proud record of successful ship construction and a powerful owner in the Washington Marine Group, the successful contractor in today’s $8 billion award.

BC Ferries should have built its Super-C ships in British Columbia, updating the Spirit Class design created here in the nineties. These now teenage ships outperform the newer German ships in every important way, most particularly in fuel efficiency and capacity.

We as taxpayers are only left to wonder about the real reasons BC Ferries sent the better part of a billion dollars to a foreign builder, eliminating economic benefits that could have served the provincial economy. We know from escalating salaries and bonuses paid the Ferry Corporation’s senior officials, that no one paid a price for this costly blunder.

That leaves me wondering if there were other factors at work: corruption as we’ve seen in BC Hydro’s contracting, where benefits accruing to taxpayers were less important than the financial gains going into pockets of BC Liberal associates, the influence paddlers and insiders.

If Premier Clark wants more fine jobs for BC, she should pay attention to The Tyee where she might learn about other high paying jobs exported by provincial agencies who forget their obligations to citizens of the province. This is from Jobs Flow to Albertans Due to BC Hydro Deals Topping $1 Billion:

BC Hydro, the publicly owned electricity utility, is spending $1 billion on transmission lines. But rather than hire B.C. companies to do the work, the bulk of it has been awarded to two Alberta companies. Those companies are themselves subsidiaries of Quanta Services, based in Texas.

Categories: BC Ferries, Clark, Christy

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11 replies »

  1. It certainly seems as if the whole British Columbia government is corrupt – giving multi million dollar jobs to companies who are known suibsidiaries of large US corporations.

    Dishonesty is dishonesty – no matter what you dress it up with. Deliberate deception goes hand in hand with corruption – along with dishonesty.

    Had the average citizen acted in the way the BC Liberal government has, that citizen would probably have a criminal record and time in an older jail.

    It boggles the mind to sit back and reflect on what has happened over this last decade and half, in British Columbia.

    This province has been “taken to the cleaners” by the very people elected to act in the best interests of British Columbia. I would not be at all surprised to learn of some sort of bonus scheme that pays elected MLA's a big bonus (tax free), to destroy what was once a unique province – like no other in the country.

    Absolutely disgusting is the way the BC Liberals have treated the people and the province of British Columbia.

    I doubt that BC will get any more ships built in the province – the US owned company “Seaspan” , will be too busy extracting federal funds for building Canadian government ships. BCFC won't even get a foot in the door – besides which, BCFC are on record as saying that the shipbuildiing industry in BC cannot build ships properly – hence the reason to buy German products instead.

    The future for BC looks pretty grim UNLESS the people rise up and take control of their province.

    Thank you.


  2. It is interesting to hear the airwaves full of the excitement of building ships in BC, the spin off jobs, the future for young workers.
    Yet when BC Ferries was going to build offshore those same airwaves were full of: “there is no future in the shipbuilding industry, can't be built in BC, only choice for the best value for the tax payers is to build offshore”.

    I always wonder who the organ grinder is that is spinning the tune for the monkeys to dance to.

    Perhaps BC Ferries will need to go to Seattle for their ship repairs as North Vancouver will be too busy with the new ships.


  3. Wasn't the Washington Marine Group, the company Christy's brother Bruce was involved with? I know they changed the name to SeaSpan. However, Dennis Washington, an American owns these ship yards. I wonder how many Americans will be hired? BC citizens may not have the right “experience”. Wasn't the point made by, giving Germany the contract for the Ferries?

    The tear down of the smelter in Kitimat, went to an American company, who brought their own workers.

    We know China is sending their people to school to learn English, they will work the coal mines. If any of the eight mines, going into Northern BC are American or Chinese, they could very well bring their own miners.

    We are all too aware of BC being thieved right down to the bare bones. The evil stinking skunk, of a corrupt, thieving Campbell made sure of that. He and his best buddy Harper worked as fast as they could, to dismantle BC.

    Campbell was not one to pass up a buck. There had to be money in it, to give Germany the contract to build these absolutely, money, fuel gobbling Ferries. I think the same for, the unnecessary smart meters. His theft and sale of our BCR. His theft and sale of our rivers. Campbell was rewarded very well by Harper, for doing his dirty work for him.

    If you read: Harper gives a speech in New York, at the Council of Foreign Relations, Sept 25/2007. You will then see, why all of our Canadian contracts, are going to the U.S.


  4. As usual, BC workers have swallowed the bait hook line and sinker, wonder if they will EVER learn? Toba Inlet, brought their own out of province workers, and/or hired only First Nations people who could not or would not keep their rules, so “dry” camps became “wet” camps etc. Who did that benefit, why the Americans of course. WE need direct democracy in BC only then will we be able to control the politicians in BC


  5. The hypocrisy is astounding. Christy Clark and her spineless co-horts are so lame. What did we do to deserve this government?


  6. I'd always thought of Gordon Campbell as studious, so had learned, during his relentless, ideological union bashing, the value of symbolism, it's ability to trump truth and reason. That's why the FastCat ferries were mothballed at high-viz locations, to be demonized along with the NDP government that ordered their construction and the unionized workers who built them, until finally they were so evil that they could be sold for 15 cents on the dollar and we'd be thankful to be rid of the contagion. Campbell killed at least three birds with one stone ( if the cushy deal for BC Liberal friends is included.)

    Where did he learn this trick? Think of those huge, high-viz posters of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Mussolini.


  7. Waste a pile of public money merely for political advantage? Not possible, is it? Or, is it….

    You betcha !!!

    Happens all the time in Canada – not only BC.



  8. As a fellow North Vancouverite I have to wonder where our MLA's,especially our Photo op MLA,Naomi Yamamoto,has been during all this. After all,her riding is the biggest beneficiary of all this shipbuilding activity,doubly so now that shes also the minister of advanced education who will have to deal with a sudden influx of new students to BCIT. And where was she when Hahn happily shipped shipbuilding contracts to Germany?


  9. At the time when Flensburger was building our ships, they were being subsidized by the German government to ensure jobs for their citizenry.


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