BC Ferries

Without fairness for all

Successful societies are based on equitable treatment of every citizen. That is not to say that individuals must be dealt with equally, rather that fairness should always be evident.

Does the equity precept matter anymore to economic and political leaders of British Columbia and Canada? I conclude it does not.

This week we heard that assets of Canada’s wealthiest billionaires grew by double digits. I  learned that one British Columbia mining company netted more from a single operation than the province grossed from every mine that extracts metals in this province. Also, that BC’s coal exporters earned profits measured in the billions but paid no carbon tax while my neighbour, an unemployed widow, paid carbon tax to heat her home and to fuel the small car that allows her each week to shop for necessities and visit grandchildren.

We also learned that coastal communities will be hammered with ferry service cuts and further fare hikes and seniors will be denied discounts they’ve long enjoyed for travelling in non-peak times. In what seems an act of retribution for not electing Liberal MLAs, coastal residents are targeted for harsh treatment despite their reliance on ferries, which for many are the only means of exiting their communities.

This is from a BC JOBS PLAN news release issued June 13, 2012 by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure when it contracted for an 80 vehicle ferry,

This project will provide good jobs for skilled tradespeople in British Columbia…

Inland ferries are used on routes where lake or river crossings are a less-costly alternative to building roads or bridges…

Notice the fine detail? Under BC Liberals, crossings of lakes or rivers are different than crossings of salt water where the preferred tradespeople to be employed are in Germany and user fares shall be paid.

I return to the principle of equity mentioned at the top. Each reader should ask the provincial government to explain the fairness of ferry service cutbacks and fare increases on the coast when inland ferry users pay nada. Nothing, zero, none.

I know the BC Liberals are little sensitive about this inequality. I know because they had Sun writer Vaughn Palmer tweeting out talking points that are supposed to provide justification. It’s just a little unfortunate the pundit didn’t do his own research because the tweets fell below his usual standard for accuracy. Examples:

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14 replies »

  1. I think you nailed it with “…In what seems an act of retribution for not electing Liberal MLAs…”. Of course it's not uncommon for opposition riding to lose out on provincial funding, but the Liberals have taken this 'hatred' to an unmatched low in provincial politics.


  2. Excellent comments on the rich getting a whole lot undeservedly richer and, what really pisses me off to the point that I have to get up and walk away from my computer for a bit, is when we find that mining companies are making billions from a resource that we the people that own and get chump change for in royalties. And…..we wonder why ferry rates are going up.

    Those people that pissed and moaned about the fast ferries because, among other stupid things, they couldn’t get french fries when they crossed over to the Island are probably looking back with fond memories what the fares and service was like back than.
    We in the interior had to pay 10 times what the coquihalla actually cost and, other than the seniors getting ripped on the free fare thing, I couldn’t care less if the other patrons had to row across.
    If these people bitched as loud about these fare increases and bad service as much as they did about the fast ferries they might get some satisfaction from the slime balls that were just elected.


  3. CBC Report: BC Ferries and Fiscal Fairness for Ferry – Dependent Communities January 2013

    BC Transportation and Finance Authority and Inland “Freshwater” Ferries

    Page 9 of 26

    The 2013 MoTI services plan describes the interior (FREE) ferries as:

    “…an integral link in British Columbia's transportation network”. Ministry 2013 Service Plan

    The latest version of the Coastal Ferries Services Contract describes the coastal marine (TOLL) service as:

    “integral to economic growth and development in British Columbia, and getting people and goods to their destinations…” Coastal Ferries Services Contract (Consolidated version) March 31, 2008

    We did a Post on Escalating BC Ferries fares are related to …. the Port Mann Bridge which could go to explain why the Inland Ferries riders are having a FREE RIDE today while Coastal ferry Riders are paying WAY TOO MUCH!


  4. I think I've had the BC Liberals pretty accurately pegged since the Gord and Judy show. Nevertheless I was appalled during a BC provincial election (I forget whether it was the last one, the one before last…or both) when I heard a BC Liberal candidate from the Northeast ask, “Why should my constituents subsidize the rich lifestyle of people who choose to live on islands?” which I guess means that if new neighbours move in who're wealthier than you, you should expect public services to dry up, never mind that I seldom use the road into Ft St Nowhere and shouldn't, by twisted BC Liberal logic, have to pay for it, either. What kind of a province would that be?

    I can accept not affording equally as many rides on the public ferry as some of my neighbours but not that I can't afford equally to provide my own, personal ferry service (and I dare say, neither can most, if not all, of my supposedly “rich” neighbours). Now, that's inequitable!


  5. Over the past year and a half, I traveled from Yaletown to Victoria, as a foot passenger, a half dozen times. I could, as a senior do the round trip for $10.50. A nice affordable all day outing. If I bought a coffee and a muffin on the Ferry each way, the cost more than doubled. Still not bad but I learned to take my own damn muffins or some fruit.

    I cost BC ferries nothing on those trips and now they say they are losing money because of ME! Ok. So, as of April I will have to pay $7.75 each way making the round trip, door to door, an even $26.00. Factor in an almost certain fare hike and I can see the summertime trip being $30.00 or, triple what it is now. Triple! That’s 300 per cent Christy, to visit a city you said is dysfunctional. Forget it, I won’t go.

    I have actually contemplated relocating to Sidney for my last 10 or 15 years. The affordability of travel meant I could keep my doctors, dentist and other support networks in Vancouver. It also meant I could pop back and forth for family occasions, cheaply. I have to rethink that one.

    I know several groups of seniors in Ladner and Tsawwassen who do a mini dinner cruise in the Pacific Buffet, once a month May through Sept. Most of them tell me, if they have to start paying $15 to $20 extra starting in April, they will quit going as well.

    I know a $7.50 fare doesn’t sound like much to most, but it has an accumulative, negative effect on a fixed income earner.

    The net effect of this boneheaded move will probably be a wash, at best, for the Ferry Corp. and may actually cost them.


  6. Maybe its time for the island to become its own province and then the feds would have to step up to the plate and fund the ferries properly or build a bridge. Us on the island would then be lucky enough to rid ourselves of Christy and the lower mainland that voted her in can have her. I know, I like to dream.


  7. From a private message sent me by a reader:

    “I always find it odd when reporters come to the aid of government. Whatever happened to the credo; comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”


  8. the decision to charge seniors is simply vindictive. The ferry is sailing anyhow. Most of the time there are lots of empty seats around. these seniors built this province and now they want more money from them. its time Christie and her gang had some of these foreign companies start paying their own way in this province.


  9. Thank you e.a.f.
    The words vindictive fits nicely.
    About once a month I am told “F Y old man” and now Christy is saying the same thing.


  10. Washing ton state ferry fares- one way:

    1) Mukilteo/Clinton – car & driver …………………… $8.10 – peak season – $8.15
    2) Port Townsend/Coupville – car and driver ……… $16.15 – peak season – $20.65
    Anacortes/Sidney – car & driver ……………………. $49.85 – peak season – $63.80


  11. Palmer's tweets don't surprise. On CKNW Friday with Good and Baldrey, the three of them sounded like paid PR agents for BC Ferries. Could they be targeting a well paid road show gig when the 20 or so ferry directors and commissioners have their next soiree?

    One of these guys could become a director since there is a new vacancy and it would be a good place to pick up 50 grand a year for a few hours chatting with others. Bill Good would be the best prospect cause at least he uses the ferry to get to his home near Sechelt. Mind you, being a user is not required. Few directors ride the ferries now since helicopters are much faster and they get reimbursed for the cost.


  12. I guess they had to raise the rates to make up for the huge raises and perks in salaries. I find that there are more administrators and layers of administration that gobble up the resources before it even gets to where it is needed or intended


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