NEWS RELEASE September 30, 2002
Freedom of information request shows BC Ferries CEO David Hahn and BC Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon intentionally misled public about BC government not being involved in decision to build ferries in Germany, says Shipyard Workers Federation
Hahn gave advance copy of material for “media blitz” to Falcon, thanked minister for “patience”
VANCOUVER – A freedom of information request released today shows that BC Ferries CEO David Hahn and BC Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon intentionally misled the public in saying there was no involvement of the provincial government in the decision to build three new Super C Class ferries at a German shipyard, says the BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation.
Federation president George MacPherson says that while both Hahn and Falcon publicly stated that the government was in no way involved with BC Ferries in the $542 million decision, an email obtained through an FOI request shows that Hahn was reporting to Falcon and providing the minister with advance copies of information about the deal.
“David Hahn and Kevin Falcon both said the government was not involved in BC Ferries and this information clearly shows that they were and that they deliberately misled the public about the so-called independence of BC Ferries,” MacPherson said. “It is now obvious that there is a very close relationship between the provincial government and BC Ferries, despite what Hahn and Falcon told the public.”
MacPherson said an email from David Hahn to Kevin Falcon dated July 28, 2004 shows that BC Ferries was reporting directly to the government about its plans to build the ferries in a foreign shipyard. The email tells Falcon that Hahn will launch an “all out media campaign” on July 30, with Hahn to “lead the media blitz myself” and that Hahn will “ arrange for your office to receive an advance copy” of the material.
MacPherson said both Hahn and Falcon had said numerous times that BC Ferries was completely independent of the government.
In a letter to MacPherson dated May 4, 2004, Falcon wrote that: “British Columbians told our government very clearly that they don't want politicians interfering in how new ferries are built ….That is why we had to change course, and in April 2003, we transformed BC Ferries to give it the independence it needs and the ability to exercise its best business judgment.”
In response to a question from CKNW radio's Bill Good August 4, 2004 about possible provincial government involvement, Hahn said: “I think it's been helpful that the minister of transportation and the premier have supported our ability to make an independent decision but they've had no input in the process other than that.”
Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer reported July 31, 2004 that in responding to a question on whether it might have been better to allow the Washington Marine Group to make a bid on the Super C-class ferries Hahn said: “It might have been politically better to do it that way but I don't worry about politics.”
MacPherson said the email release under an FOI request by the Federation may just be the tip of the iceberg regarding collaboration between BC Ferries and the Liberal government.
“We have no idea how many telephone or direct conversations may have taken place between David Hahn and Kevin Falcon over a long period of time, but it is obvious that this email is a response to complaints from the minister about BC Ferries doing a poor job communicating this controversial issue,” MacPherson said. “It is clear that David Hahn was reporting back to Kevin Falcon, not acting as CEO of an independent corporation, which he always claims.”
FULL TEXT OF EMAIL
Sent Wednesday, July 28, 2004 10:29 a.m.
To: Falcon,.MLA, Kevin LASS:EX
We will set the record straight once and for all on the new build program on Friday with an all out media campaign to ensure everyone in BC hears our story
I will return late on Thursday and lead the media blitz myself
I will arrange for your office to receive an advance copy and assure you our case will be presented in clear concise terms that will make sure the public understands the issue
I thank you for your patience and support of our plans and independence and we won't let the people of BC be misled on any issue not just shipbuilding
David L Hahn”
For more information : Call George MacPherson at cell 604-220-3291 or 604-254-8204 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at cell 778-896-0964 or 604-844-7827.