Thursday, June 22, 2006

More Government Support for BC Ferries; a Stupid Idea

The latest idea from the Times Colonist staff: the government should [..] consider increasing its subsidy to B.C. Ferries to help hold rates down on tourism-critical routes.

First of all, it goes against one of the core points of British Columbia Ferry Commission mandate: (f) the designated ferry routes are to move towards a greater reliance on a user pay system so as to reduce, over time, the service fee contributions by the government.

And, personally, I don't see the "extraordinary circumstances" in rising fuel prices; they are a reality for all travelers, across B.C.

The funny thing is, the article does bring up this argument, but uses it as an excuse; a strange way of using rising fuel costs to subsidize a privately held company. Who do we support next, Air Canada, Horizon Air, WestJet, or maybe the Clipper and the Coho? And what about the taxi companies? They loose business too. And why not give HeliJet some extra support?

And what do we do when oil reaches $120 a barrel, do we double our support to BC Ferries?
It's a slippery slope with no end in sight.

Here's the kind of conclusion that straightforward thinking would produce:
Rising fuel costs are a global issue, which indeed can (and probably will) have an impact on travelers. But to financially support one (privatized) company over an other, under the show of loss of tourism, is an unfair solution and therefore the wrong way to go.

Why then not support restaurants too? If it's more affordable to dine out, then there's more money left to spend on travel; Victoria, the dining Mekka of Canada! And maybe hotels too? Great idea! Let's give everybody $25 dollars if they spend a night in Victoria!

More government support for BC Ferries is a stupid idea.

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