Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Chamber of Commerce, MP Bachrach raise concerns over American bill, fate of Cruise industry in Prince Rupert

The Northland Cruise Terminal won't see any passengers 
in 2021. Now concern shifts towards 2022 in the wake of a 
Bill signed by President Biden earlier this week and 
worries that a temporary measure may become permanent

About the same time that Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan was making his final points Friday in his speech to the US Senate on the progress of the Alaska bill to restart their cruise industry, the topic caught some attention in the Northwest. 

With both the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach putting out short social media messages late into Friday afternoon, registering their concern over the then proposed bill and the potential impact it may have on the North Coast cruise industry and future port calls for Prince Rupert.

The Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce 
post to social media from Friday

MP Taylor Bachrach with his own social media
post on the topic of the cruise industry from Friday

The landscape for the issue has already shifted  however, with American bill now passed following the signature of President Joe Biden on Monday and the cruise ships set for a launch later in June for non stop transit through BC waters on their way to Ketchikan and points north.

The work ahead for both the MP and the Chamber now is one of making their case with Canadian and British Columbia officials to play a little catch up with the Americans on the topic and hopefully head off any prospect of making the new bill the future blue print for the industry.

And as it has been for both the Federal government and the BC NDP government, both the Chamber and the MP seemed to be a little behind on the curve of engagement; the issue as the Alaskans pointed out in their Friday talking points one that they had been trying to get some attention towards by Canadian officials for a number of months.

The Alaska bill was not an overnight decision and it basically came out of growing frustration by the neighbours to the north that no one was paying attention to their concerns of the last few months, the tone of the commentary from the state one that suggests that fence mending will be required.

By letting the topic fester through the last few months, the British Columbia cruise industry may now have to face the prospect of reinventing itself should the temporary elimination of Canadian stops become permanent; something that would no doubt have an impact on tourism in Prince Rupert.  

Of note for the near future, the topic of the Alaska Marine Highway System and the future of its Prince Rupert Terminal and service to the North Coast may also soon be back on the Alaskans radar and that's something that the local officials at all levels best making some plans to address as well.

You can review some of the timeline to the American bill  from our Cruise Ship Tourism archive page here.

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