NDP promises federal funding for BC Ferries

The Harper Conservatives have prevented BC Ferries from accessing basic infrastructure funding

  • Oct. 5, 2015 3:00 p.m.

New Democratic candidate in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding Sheila Malcolmson announced Monday, Oct. 5, that an NDP government would allow BC Ferries and the province of British Columbia to access federal funding for ferry infrastructure, terminals, fleet upgrades and new vessels.

“The Harper Conservatives have prevented BC Ferries from accessing basic infrastructure funding that would help reduce ferry costs for B.C.,” said Malcolmson.

“Tom Mulcair and the NDP will end Harper’s unfair policy that is hurting our coastal communities such as Nanaimo. We will make ferry infrastructure, including terminals and fleets, an eligible category for federal funding under the New Building Canada Fund.”

Green candidate Paul Manly also believes BC Ferries should be funded, and that it would be an appropriate use of New Building Canada funds.

“I don’t see why BC Ferries shouldn’t be able to apply to that fund for infrastructure,” he said, noting that the Trans Canada highway ends in Victoria, not on the Lower Mainland.

“We have a national highway, and it’s part of our national road infrastructure, and the federal government should have a part in funding that infrastructure,” he said.

Conservative candidate Mark MacDonald said BC Ferries is already eligible for funding, and has received millions. “The Conservative government will continue its $30 million annual funding for BC Ferries, and has already said that BC Ferries is eligible for Build Canada funding for all their shore-based facilities,” he said.

He also noted that he and Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan recently committed to supporting foot passenger service between Nanaimo and Vancouver. “A newly elected Conservative government will provide financial backing for a new downtown Nanaimo-downtown Vancouver foot passenger ferry without provincial participation so far, and this will provide significant jobs and investment in Central Vancouver Island,” MacDonald said.

Commitments to improved ferry service will be welcomed by Island communities, and particularly those served by minor routes, which have been hard hit by increased ferry rates.

In his most recent report, last month, BC Ferries Commissioner Gord Macatee said increases in fares for BC Ferries will be capped at 1.9 percent per year between 2016 and 2020.

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone called the decision ‘good news, noting that the increases were the lowest since 2003.

Many ferry users may feel differently, however, especially those using Gulf Island routes, where fares have increased at a rate four or five times that of inflation according to a study commissioned by the Islands Trust.

Malcolmson said rates are out of line, and that it’s time for the federal government to help. “Skyrocketing fare increases and service cuts from BC Ferries need to be addressed at a federal level,” she said.

“Ferries are the transportation backbone of Vancouver Island and people in our communities depend on them for travel, work, jobs and our economy.”

Ferry services on the east coast are often subsidized by the federal government because they are inter-provincial, whereas BC Ferries routes run within the province.

“Islanders have had enough of this neglect from the Conservative government,” she said. “As Chair of the Islands Trust Council, I spent six years pushing for improved ferry service and keeping ferry costs affordable for area residents and tourists.”



Just Posted

Volunteers take down after another successful Ladysmith Festival of Lights

Good crowd comes out for a sunny Sunday volunteer session of taking down decorations

Blood moon over Ladysmith

Gerry Beltgens shook off cold fingers this weekend to capture this image… Continue reading

Reflections of Ladysmith: The Art of Michael Dean

Work, place and people are inseparable for Vancouver Island painter

Ladysmith business recognized for supporting diversity in the workplace

Ladysmith Home Hardware, Ladysmith Pharmasave, LRCA, and Maya Norte saluted

Editorial: Looking back at windstorm helps us prepare for next time

BC Hydro says it was the most destructive storm in its history

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, expenses

Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report details ‘flagrant overspending’

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Vancouver Island senior dies after medical emergency and rollover crash

Incident happened Saturday in Nanaimo on Poplar Street

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

Most Read