BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau announced on Monday that if elected, her party would restore BC Ferries’ status as a crown corporation, in order to “manage the service as part of the transportation network,” rather than as an organization with a profit motive.
“For coastal communities and some interior communities, ferries are part of their way of life and a core part of the transportation network,” said Furstenau. “We need to recognize that as part of our transportation network, ferries are about connecting people and supporting our provincial economy.”
Now’s the time, she said, “to stop pretending that ferries should, or could, be run with a profit motive and bring their focus back to the essential services they provide to our communities.”
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The immediate predecessor to today’s BC Ferries was a provincial crown corporation called British Columbia Ferry Corporation. Created in 1977 under a Ferry Corporation Act, it took over government ferry services previously run under the BC Department of Highways.
Ferry operations under the crown corporation ended April 1, 2003, and the conversion was recognized in the new Coastal Ferry Act, which took effect the same day. The Ferry Corporation Act was simultaneously repealed, as well.
The next day, the crown corporation was converted to an independent, regulated company under the Company Act, and renamed British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
Ferry-dependent communities “deserve more than tinkering around the edges,” said Furstenau on Monday. “The BC Greens would bring BC Ferries back into government as a crown corporation, and conduct a full review of BC Ferries operations focused on providing an efficient, public service for British Columbians, and on improving the role of ferries in BC’s transportation network.”
Voting day is October 24.