The Government of Canada has long recognized that private companies have little interest in providing service to the country’s rural areas. When it comes to matters of the national transportation network, the Canada Transportation Act states that “strategic public intervention” should be used to “advance the well-being of Canadians and enable competitiveness and economic growth in both urban and rural areas”. This is Canada’s official National Transportation Policy. But now it appears that the BC government is simply handing control of this critical area to BC Ferries.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone has stated that it’s the responsibility of BC Ferries to determine which routes to cancel or cut. According to the Minister, they are free to make whatever alterations they want to this vital part of the provincial transportation network, without regard for the economic or social consequences. His government can only request a budget reduction, and then leave BC Ferries with free reign to do whatever they wish.
This is completely at odds with the stated intent of the National Transportation Policy. Establishing a reliable transportation network ensuring the vitality of the provincial socio-economic fabric is a job for government, not private enterprise.
We’re now in a position where unelected BC Ferries managers are controlling the transportation policy of British Columbia. Minister Stone continues to talk about making tough decisions, but it appears that all the decisions are being made by BC Ferries for the benefit of their own bottom line, not by Minister Stone.
This government has failed in their obligation to provide a transportation system that is accessible for persons with disabilities. The Canada Transportation Act states that the transportation system should be “accessible without undue obstacle to the mobility of persons, including persons with disabilities”.
The Nimpkish is virtually inaccessible to any person with physical disabilities. To put it on a route that takes at least nine hours in good weather goes well beyond poor planning,” said Leonard Ellis, Vice-Chair.
It’s the government’s duty to intervene to ensure safe, secure transportation for all its citizens and visitors to the province. They should act before it’s too late.
Save The Discovery Coast Ferry