Handing control of B.C. Ferries to the state of Washington has its opponents, but some like the concept of borrowing ideas from the Washington State ferry system.
That system pays its senior ferry executives far less than B.C. Ferries bosses, Vancouver newspaper columnist Michael Smyth recently reported.
B.C. Ferries president Michael Corrigan gets $563,000, including such perks as car allowance and bonuses. Dave Mosely, Washington Ferries senior executive gets $152,000, with no such perks.
That inspired Jordan Bateman to write a blog entry on the Canadian Taxpayers Federation website under the headline: What if We Outsourced B.C. Ferries to Washington State? "It's more of a spitball idea," said Bateman.
"I think it's pretty clear the Liberal model, operating B.C.
Ferries as a quasi-private corporation hasn't worked. You have to go either way: Make it its own company and throw it to the wolves and make it compete, or you go back to reporting to the minister.
"I've tried to look at other models, and one of them is: Is it possible to outsource to Washington?" Nanaimo New Democrat MLA Leonard Krog called it an "outlandish" idea.
"B.C. Ferries is an integral part of the B.C. transportation system and when they mess up, Liberal ministers for a decade have thrown up their hands and said: 'We're going to have to talk to them,' and they don't. (Like) parents of a misbehaving child."
John Hodgkins, Gabriola Ferry Committee chairman, said the committee wants government to consider other governance models, but not necessarily that of Washington state.
"We know some of the new ferries commissioned by Washington State have gone way over budget and there is no guarantee it would be better," Hodgkins said.
Sasha Angus, Nanaimo Economic Development Corp. CEO, said it's worth looking at Washington and other models. "If there are other ferry systems around the world that have best practices, we should at least look at that," Angus said. "I think that is something business groups across the province have been calling for."
Transportation Minister Todd Stone was unavailable for comment.
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