EDITORIAL: UBCM ferry report makes for awkward talks

Transportation Minister Todd Stone's harsh criticism of $2 billion loss in economic activity was necessary

The annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention marks its halfway point today in Whistler, where mayors and councillors from around the province have gathered to gauge their common appetite for ensuing battles with higher levels of government.

This year’s convention will be particularly tense when Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone arrives for one-on-one meetings with various municipal leaders. Perhaps most contentious is a report commissioned by the UBCM (and its regional counterpart, the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities) and released last week that concludes B.C. missed out on about $2 billion in economic activity over the past decade because of rising BC Ferries fares.

The resulting headlines were certainly one way to begin what’s meant to be open dialogue between provincial ministers and municipal delegates. Local leaders may have felt the report would offer some leverage in the fight for infrastructure and subsidy funding.

Stone soon issued a firm rebuke of Boatswains to Bollards – A Socioeconomic Impact Analysis of BC Ferries, and called its timed release “irresponsible,” “unsubstantiated” and “sensational.” (Not the way one hopes to set up afternoon tea. A drink at the bar may be a better recommendation.)

Stone then lays out a number of indicators – the recession, U.S. passport requirements, corresponding drops in air travel between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland – that show ferry rates are hardly the only reason why people are choosing to stay home and count their pennies more often.

But the ferry analysis and Stone’s quick response also reveal a more worrying trend between intergovernmental partners: a surplus scarcity often means politicians point the finger at the next door instead of seeking real solutions to immediate problems.

Hiked ferry rates and our weakened economic health will remain with us for the foreseeable future. What’s needed is constructive dialogue, meaningful proposals and motivational answers that connect with citizens. The rest is just posturing.

 

Just Posted

BREAKING: Kelly Ellard gets day parole extended for six more months

Ellard was convicted of killing 14-year-old Reena Virk in 1997

Relative of man found dead in Saanich says he was missing for years

RCMP and a private detective had been searching for him since 2012

Ten bikes reported stolen in 24 hours in Victoria

VicPD asking residents to check their bikes after spike in thefts

Tours showcase sculptures, art demos in final week of Oak Bay’s Arts and Culture Days

Arts and Culture Days ends with community picnic at Carnarvon Park on Aug. 29

Truck purchase prompts staffing plea from Esquimalt Firefighters Association

Union president says staffing should come before new equipment

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. hockey player excited to join Humboldt Broncos

Defenceman Sebastien Archambault played last two seasons with Junior B Sicamous Eagles.

Police watchdog investigating two officers after Langley teen’s suspected overdose

According to IIO, two officers were deployed to help Carson Crimeni but did not locate him before he died

Huawei executive’s defence team alleges Canadians were ‘agents’ of the FBI

eng’s arrest at Vancouver’s airport has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

On vaccines, abortion, Goop, doctor Jen Gunter says: ‘I have a duty to speak up’

She speaks out on menstruation, the wellness industry and vaccines

Most Read