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

Donation saves Ladysmith Logger Sports pole climbing competition

The death-defying and stomach-turning skills of the world’s best lumberjacks will go… Continue reading

Open water swimming from Victoria to Washington State

The swim will take at least 24 hours, meaning Susan Simmons will be swimming in the black of night

Ladysmith athletes set to represent Central-Island at BC Summer Games

Town budgets up to $60K for facility improvements

Inside the music

Big Read: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Ladysmith councillor resigns due to personal reasons

Councillor Carol Henderson is resigning her seat at the Ladysmith city council… Continue reading

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Okanagan wildfires have potential to become firestorms, says UBC expert

David Andison said to let smaller fires go, to create pockets in the landscape for new forests

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

Most Read