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MLA presents ferry petition

BC Green Party's Adam Olsen delivers more than 16,000 signatures to government
The Queen of Surrey crosses Howe Sound.

A petition calling for BC Ferries to be folded back into BC Ministry of Transportation was tabled at the Legislature this week.

The petition drive was mounted by Jim Abram, a Quadra Island resident and director at the Strathcona Regional District, and the 16,055 signatures were presented to the government by BC Green Party MLA Adam Olsen of Saanich North and the Islands.

The petition was nearly identical to one Abram launched in 2015, which got more than 20,000 signatures.

Abram told Coast Reporter in January, when the petition had just hit the 12,000 mark, “We’ve got to petition this government to do what they intimated they would do throughout the election, right up to election time.”

The NDP election platform did not include a proposal to make BC Ferries a Crown corporation again, but Abram claims it was as good as promised during the campaign, and he believes that’s what NDP supporters expected the government to do.

Abram said comments from Premier John Horgan as opposition leader at last year’s Association of Island and Coastal Communities AGM just prior to the election were “about as close to a promise as you can get.”

Transportation minister Claire Trevena announced a long-awaited review of BC Ferries late last year saying the government was “not looking for an excuse to bring BC Ferries back under government. It is looking at how we can ensure this marine highway works in the best public interest.”

Trevena made a similar statement to reporters at the Legislature on Monday, just after the petition was tabled.

Olsen told fellow MLAs, “BC Ferries provide an essential service for our province. This petition is calling on the government to return the ferries back into the ministry.”

The BC Green Party was the only party to support making BC Ferries a Crown corporation in its 2017 platform. The BC Ferries review is supposed to be completed by June 30 and will cost about $250,000.