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NEWS RELEASE August 9, 2004

BC Shipyard Workers Federation files Freedom of Information request on Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon in effort to make public all details on why government and BC Ferry Services want to build 3 Super C Class ferries in foreign shipyard at cost of $500 million and 2000 lost jobs

VANCOUVER – The BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation is filing a Freedom of Information request on Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon in an effort to make public all details on why the provincial government and BC Ferry Services want to build 3 Super-C Class ferries in foreign shipyards.

“We believe that Minister Falcon has been very involved in the decision to give a $500 million investment and 2,000 direct jobs away to a foreign shipyard and we want to know exactly why,” Federation president George MacPherson says. “Since the provincial government made BC Ferry Service exempt from Freedom of Information requests and taken away all public accountability, our only alternative is to seek access to all correspondence sent by BC Ferry Services to Minister Falcon.”

MacPherson said that Premier Gordon Campbell and Falcon still don't seem to understand that the provincial government should be insisting that British Columbia shipyards and workers get fair treatment from BC Ferry Services on tenders for new ship construction.

Vancouver Shipyards was excluded from making a binding bid on the new ferries after it was rejected in a secret pre-qualification stage.

The FOI request may uncover what has happening behind closed doors, he said.

MacPherson said that when the BC Liberal government turned BC Ferries into a quasi-private company called BC Ferry Services, the public lost the right to make FOI requests and legislative accountability for the former crown corporation was taken away.

But MacPherson noted that BC Ferry Services still receives over $100 million a year in taxpayer dollars to subsidize its operations and the majority of the board of directors is appointed by the provincial government.

“The BC government is letting BC Ferry Services take taxpayer dollars to create jobs and investment in a foreign country while denying companies and workers right here in BC the right to even bid on the work. It doesn't get any worse than that,” MacPherson said.

For more information or copies of the documents : Call George MacPherson at 604-254-8204 or cell 604-220-3291 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at 604-844-7827 or cell 778-896-0964. For background, go to www.bcshipyardworkers.com

 

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