Editorial by Bill Good on The Bill Good Show on CKNW radio
September 16, 2002
The Shipyard General Workers' Federation is expressing great concern today about the BC government looking stateside or offshore to build new ferries and refurbish present ships. The idea is daft.
BC government may be afraid of another "fast ferry" fiasco, but the "fast ferries" were not the fault of BC Shipbuilders, and those workers should not be penalized for the mismanagement of the former government.
The "fast ferries" were ill conceived. The proof of that is that they still cannot be sold, but the work was well done.
The fact is the money should have been spent building new traditional ferries in BC and using BC Shipyards to do the work that's now long overdue, updating existing ships.
Why on earth would we reward a US Shipyard with BC work, especially when the US is punishing our forest workers?
Why would we even consider China, Japan, Korea or Singapore when their shipyards are subsidized by their governments and by low wages?
Even if there was a cost benefit to BC taxpayers to going offshore the number of jobs, the spin-off to supporting firms here is huge.
The wages alone paid would amount to approximately 78 million dollars, that equates to about 30 million in tax revenue to government.
The BC government doesn't like the idea of subsidies but it shouldn't like the idea of exporting jobs either.
Not at a time when so many jobs are being lost to US and offshore competition. Not at a time when the BC economy is in such need of a shot in the arm.
Our shipyards suffered under foolish job creation during the NDP, it would be even more foolish to send that work elsewhere now.
The ferries are ours, we pay to use them - I rode the Queen of Surrey twice this weekend, I want my money to go to BC workers, and if it means a slightly higher fare, I'll gladly pay it.
At least that's the way I see it.