NEWS RELEASE August 24, 2004
BC Ferries president says local industry can but he won't
David Hahn, president of BC Ferries told BCTV Friday while local industry “can and should” build three new Super C-Class vessels for his fleet, he is prepared to send 2,000 jobs and half a billion dollars to an overseas company in defiance of political pressure from local industry.
VANCOUVER – Throughout an interview with a local television reporter Friday, David Hahn, president of BC Ferries denounced the BC shipbuilding industry and its practices and defended his prerogative to award a lucrative contract to an overseas company. In a contradictory statement during the same interview, Hahn said that while British Columbia shipbuilders “can and should” build the vessels here, he believes local industry is using politics to try to “slip in to the back door” of BC Ferries' process and he is not prepared to give way. “It's closed,” he says of the bid process.
Hahn also raised the spectre of the “fast ferries” saying more contracts to local shipbuilders would be “money down the drain.”
“David Hahn is committing irreparable slander to our industry and workers every time he opens his mouth to defend his flawed process,” says George MacPherson, president of the BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation. “If he's prepared to say on television that we can and should build the ferries here, then he needs to come out and admit his mistake. It's time for David Hahn to check his ego at the door and let local industry take their rightful place at the table.”
Washington Marine Group, which operates Vancouver Shipyards and Victoria Shipyards, was eliminated in the first round of the process despite a strong ranking. “David Hahn told me himself in March that the Washington Marine bid placed fifth out of thirteen bids in the preliminary stage,” says MacPherson. “I'm now hearing him say they placed last. I'm not sure we can believe anything this guy says at this point.”
A German company is believed to have won the bid to build the three new Super C-Class ferries, exporting tens of millions of local dollars directly to German tax coffers. “British Columbians are having to forfeit thousands of jobs and millions of tax dollars as a direct result of David Hahn's inept and irresponsible behaviour,” says MacPherson.
The BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation is aggressively challenging the bid process and seeks to have local industry reinstated on an equal footing with all other competitors before a final decision is announced in September.
For more information : Call George MacPherson at 604-254-8204 or cell 604-220-3291 or Nancy Black, West Star Communications, at 604-612-1212