“It’s not just going to be a question of whether or not we’re building BC Ferries here. We want to be building ferries for countries all over the world here.” – Christy Clark, October 19, 2011
VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government have given up on the idea of creating jobs by not building new B.C. ferries at home, say the New Democrat opposition.
“Building three new ferries is going to create a lot of good jobs in Poland that could have been filled by British Columbians,” said New Democrat opposition ferries critic Claire Trevena. “The B.C. Liberal government should have a plan in place to ensure that contracts like this worth hundreds of millions of dollars will create jobs here in B.C. and benefit our shipbuilding industry.”
B.C. Ferries announced Thursday that three intermediate class ferries will be built by Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Poland.
Trevena pointed out the three ships are just a small part of a fleet that is due for major renewal in the coming years.
“This is an industry that creates good jobs for British Columbians. We should be doing everything we can to help it thrive, but the B.C. Liberals are doing nothing.”
The New Democrat opposition introduced the Provincial Shipbuilding Act in the legislature in May, which pushed for a provincial shipbuilding strategy to be developed and for measures that would ensure vessels built with public money are built in Canada. The legislation was blocked by the B.C. Liberal government.
A study by the Columbia Institute looked at the economic benefits of the shipbuilding industry and found that for every 100 jobs created in the industry, 135 jobs were created elsewhere.
“According to this study, the construction of three ferries would have meant a $378.5 million boost to the provincial economy. British Columbians are missing out, and this government has no plans to fix the problem,” said Trevena.
In addition, if these ferries were built in B.C., Trevena added, the province would have saved the $51 million earmarked in these contracts to cover Canadian taxes and import duties.
“The B.C. Liberals have maintained a singular focus on building LNG, while ignoring other important sectors of the economy. It’s time they made a commitment to good jobs and stopped neglecting our province’s shipbuilding sector.”