British Columbia

BC Ferries won't get more government subsidies: Todd Stone

The B.C. government is trying to undercut a report that claims rising ferry fares are hurting the economy ahead of the Union of B.C. Municipalities' annual general meeting next week.

B.C. government rejects findings of Union of B.C. Municipalities report on BC Ferries cuts

B.C. government denies UBCM report that says billions of dollars lost as a result of BC Ferries fare increases hikes, but Islanders say the hikes hurt 2:06

The B.C. government is trying to undercut a report that claims rising ferry fares are hurting the economy ahead of the Union of B.C. Municipalities' annual general meeting next week.

Last week, the UBCM released a report that concludes B.C. missed out on more than $2 billion in economic activity over the past decade because of rising fares on BC Ferries

But in a letter to the UBCM's president, B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone said he rejects the conclusions of the report.

B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone rejects the findings in the Union of B.C. Municipalities' recent report that blames funding cuts to BC Ferries for robbing the B.C. economy of billions of dollars. (CBC)

"Our sense of this report is it's highly simplistic in terms of the analysis that's been done," he told CBC News on Friday.

"The assumptions that have been made that kind of underpin the findings of this report are so massively overstated that you could drive a ferry through them.

"It's far too simplistic to suggest that just because someone may not have taken a ferry, they didn't spend money in B.C. in some other facet."

The UBCM will use its meeting in Whistler next week to call for a host of changes, including a call for the government to restore fares and service to 2013 levels.

But Stone says his government is not prepared to start spending more on ferry service.

"There is no more room for additional taxpayer subsidy to BC Ferries," he said.

Find out more by watching the videos that accompany this story, and watch The National on Sunday, Sept. 21, for CBC reporter Chris Brown's report on how changes to BC Ferries are affected island life.


With files from the CBC's Stephanie Mercier and Chris Brown

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