MP to meet with federal minister on ferry cuts

  • Feb. 7, 2014 9:00 a.m.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is looking into whether the federal government can step in to help coastal communities reeling from cuts to ferry service. Mr. Cullen told northwest media Friday morning that although BC Ferries is under provincial government jurisdiction, the federal government does provide an annual subsidy to the service and may have a role to play. He said he plans to meet with federal Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt within the next two weeks to discuss the situation, adding that he has been receiving emotional calls from businesses and residents affected by the looming service reductions. “The decisions being made by BC Ferries will have huge impacts on the coastal economy and communities,” he said. “It’s causing serious economic and social pain…. What’s being proposed is absolutely brutal.” The provincial government announced this week that it will go through with proposed cuts, which will take effect at the end of April. Here on Haida Gwaii, the Skidegate-Prince Rupert route will be reduced by one sailing a week, and the Kwuna route will be reduced by four sailings a day. The new schedules are supposed to be released later this month. Mr. Cullen said some coastal residents have told him they are thinking about moving away as a result of the service cuts and high fares. “It seems BC Ferries, the provincial government, is keen to abandon our northern communities,” he said. “They’re making it almost impossible for these communities to exist.”

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