03 November 1999
Ferry Fiasco - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
Last Thursday, BC’s Auditor General George Morfitt released his long awaited report on the fast ferry fiasco. See, even before the paper was released, we all knew it was a boondoggle and an absurd waste of public money, all in the name of one Glen Clark. The catamaran ferries that would have cut precious minutes off the schlep from the mainland to the island, have turned our government’s misstep into a national embarrassment, not to mention the millions flushed down the drain, to quote from John Gray’s “commode”. Former premier Clark, had a vision, he had grandstanding ribbon cuttings, as well as big plans. He promised his union friends that they’d have jobs, and that the boats would benefit all British Columbians.
The ships came in over budget and late. Mr. Morfitt critised the government’s inability to have a proper business plan, as well as clear instructions for the Ferry Corp. Morfitt’s findings include the scaving inference that the decision to build ferries was, “not supported by sufficient pre-planning and analysis to warrant claims made about the cost and capability of ferries and the benefits to the province.” That, should be reason enough for the oblivious, that this NDP government is totally incompetent. Figure that this report, with the other things like the ‘bingogate’ scandal, Stupich, Carrier Lumber, fudget-budgets and the other cleaver ‘-isms’ coined by the pundits and columnists. Clark had a wide vision, but his sight was impaired by his drive and ambition to repeat Socred triumphs of decades past.
Morfitt is also adament his report, that the government was responsible for this. Yet, they have not even apologised. Now we’ve got, rightfully so, the Vaughn Palmer’s, Mike Smyth’s and the Liberal’s, wondering where the hell were Joy MacPhail as finance minister, in the decision to okay the project? Where was Ujjal Dosanjh as a member of the treasury board, in approving the appropriation of funds to this project? Where was the current Premier Dan Miller, as the minister responsible at the time? Good questions, but with this province’s incompetence, we’ll never get the answer’s we’re looking for. The loudest voice that critised the government at the time, Gordon Wilson, is now silenced by the fact he’s the minister responsible now. Glen Clark hasn’t spoken up, and he should. His dream is now a harrowing nightmare which has got the people of BC paying for years and years to come.
I sincerely hope that this government, with this latest pothole in the road to governance, will change its ways before election time, so as to actually do something right for the good of the people of British Columbia.
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