NEWS RELEASE July 23, 2004
BC Ferry Services has already racked up $81,000 in executive travel to Europe to build 3 Super C Class ferries in foreign shipyard instead of BC; Shipyard Workers Federation asks how much money will be wasted overseas instead of creating 2000 jobs at home in BC
VANCOUVER – Confidential documents obtained by the BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation show that BC Ferry Services has already racked up at least $81,000 for 10 executive trips to Europe to build 3 Super-C Class ferries in foreign shipyards.
And the Federation is asking how much more money will be wasted overseas at $8,100 per trip by BC Ferry Services instead of being used to create 2000 jobs at home in British Columbia with the $500 million project.
“BC Ferry Services is already spending huge amounts of money flying its executives to Europe at great public expense before it even has a signed contract with a foreign shipyard,” says Federation president George MacPherson. “At $8,100 per trip for each executive, how much longer will this expensive and unnecessary boondoggle continue?”
The documents released by the Federation show that 10 executives from BC Ferry Services spent $81,144.08 for 10 trips in total to Europe : six trips to London , England and four trips to Denmark for what is described as “model testing”.
MacPherson said the Federation was sent the documents anonymously and has no doubt of their authenticity, but has no idea how many other trips may have taken place.
“We know that BC Ferry Services executives have regularly been traveling to Europe in their efforts to give this important contract to a foreign shipyard,” MacPherson said. “But what we don't yet know is how much the total bill will be for a huge amount of travel necessary to complete a two-year project in Europe worth half a billion dollars.”
MacPherson said that because the BC Liberal government privatized BC Ferry Services and removed it from public accountability in the Legislature and also made it exempt from freedom of information requests, the public may never know how much money is being spent or on what.
“This entire half billion dollar project is a fiasco: 2,000 BC jobs are being lost, $500 million in investment of BC tax dollars are going overseas and know one will ever know what happened to the money,” MacPherson said. “We are once again calling on Premier Gordon Campbell to cancel this decision and bring the jobs and investment back home to British Columbia.”
Yesterday BC Liberal MLA Dan Jarvis broke ranks with the BC government and BC Ferry Services, calling for the new ferries to be built in British Columbia and saying that the decision to construct them in a foreign shipyard is “blatantly stupid” and “makes no sense.” And in a letter to the North Shore Outlook newspaper Jarvis said that many of his BC Liberal colleagues in cabinet agree with him.
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