Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cullen seeks improved Federal funding for Ferry services in British Columiba

Nathan Cullen speaking on Ferries issues
last week in the House of Commons
They were talking marine transportation for the Atlantic region in the House of Commons last week, a topic that Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley became quite engaged with during the course of the House proceedings.

As part of his contribution to the topic, the MP  made sure to add concerns from the Pacific coast to his talking points during the allotted time for the session.

The discussion was in support of Private members Motion 591, which is related to ferry service between PEI and Nova Scotia.

And while that was the focus of the day's discussion, Mr Cullen took advantage of the opportunity to add to the scope of the debate, providing an overview of the lack of funding for such transportation options as ferry services across the nation, with a particular focus on the importance of marine transportation to the North Coast.

Coming from British Columbia, as anyone who has ever visited the coast of B.C. from south all the way through to the north, ferries are an integral link. They are in fact our highway system. If people are driving down Highway 16 in northern British Columbia and get to Prince Rupert, they get on the ferry and keep going when they get to the other side, in Haida Gwaii, some four or five hours away on the ferry. 

I have taken that ferry many times. It is a vital link. To suggest that it does not deserve support would be like saying to people in the Greater Toronto Area that there will be no support for development on Highway 401, or saying to people along the Trans Canada, that it is not a vital link anymore. For us, the ferry service is exactly what it is. It is a link between us and the rest of the country.

Mr. Cullen expanded on the Northern Service of BC Ferry's providing background for the House of Commons on recent financial issues in British Columbia related to the delivery of the service on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

As well, the NDP MP provided a short overview for the House as to  the importance that the BC Ferry service plays in the lives of residents of the region.

Among some of the notes he relays during his eleven minute address are concerns related to medical appointment issues and issues for tourism operators across the Northwest as ferry frequency and pricing continue to affect both residents and potential visitors to the region.

He noted how past subsidies from the Federal Government have in recent times been rolled into general revenues, also observing how the subsidy to passengers who ride BC Ferries is but 1.40 a year. An amount considerably less than in other areas of the country, Cullen wrapped up his commentary by calling on the Federal Government to stop bleeding the ferry systems across the country.

You can also review the transcript of Mr. Cullen's full speech to the House of Commons here

For more items related to the work of the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley see our archive page here.

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