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NEWS RELEASE September 13, 2004

BC Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan blasts BC Ferry Services CEO David Hahn for efforts to “unfairly smear the reputation and capability” of BC shipyards and workers; says excluding Vancouver Shipyards from bidding on 3 new Super C Class ferries worth $500 million is “inexplicable”

Sultan says North Shore Liberal MLAs “do not appreciate the deprecatory remarks” of Hahn

VANCOUVER – BC Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan is blasting the CEO of BC Ferry Services for David Hahn's efforts to “unfairly smear the reputation and capability” of BC shipyards and workers after excluding Vancouver Shipyards from bidding on three new Super C Class ferries worth $500 million.

And West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Sultan says the BC Ferry Services' decision to not allow Vancouver Shipyards to make a binding bid is “inexplicable” and “suggests that the interests of all the shareholders may not have been adequately considered.”

Sultan's comments were made in a September 3, 2004 letter to a North Shore resident and obtained by the BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation.

Sultan also says: “Those of us representing North Shore ridings do not appreciate the deprecatory remarks made by the President of B.C. Ferries concerning the British Columbia shipbuilding industry.”

George MacPherson, president of the Shipyard Workers' Federation, says Sultan's comments show that the government needs to intervene immediately to stop BC Ferry Services from exporting 2000 direct jobs to a German shipyard.

“MLA Sultan's comments show that many members of the BC Liberal government fully understand how destructive it will be to the BC economy to export 2000 direct jobs and half a billion dollars to a German shipyard,” MacPherson said. “Now it is time for Premier Gordon Campbell to show leadership and demand that BC shipyards be given the same opportunity to make a binding bid for this project that the German and Finnish shipyards were allowed.”

MacPherson said the BC Ferry Services' Board of Directors will be asked to approve a contract with Germany's Flensburger Shipyard on Friday September 17.

“It's now or never for the government to take action to give BC shipyards a fair chance to compete. We can only hope that MLA Sultan's comments will help the government come to its senses,” MacPherson said.

Sultan says Hahn unfairly used the fast ferries situation to smear the industry and workers instead of placing blame at the feet of politicians. Sultan also says in the letter that British Columbians should be proud of past shipbuilding efforts.

For more information : 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.

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