Minister Todd Stone owes the North Coast an explanation for his downright cowardly handling of the BC Ferries service cut announcement.
Stone may claim this was “one of the toughest” decisions he’s ever made, but it was one that must have been made a lot easier by the fact that he never left the comfort of his office to actually participate in the public process.
He never heard from tourism operators about how much revenue would be lost by making changes this late in the game and how it would affect their livelihoods. He never had to look seniors from Haida Gwaii in the eyes as they explained the need for a frequent ferry schedule to make it to medical appointments and back without draining their bank account paying for hotels and food. He never heard the impassioned plea from people on the islands about the impact reduced sailing would have on the cost of groceries and the ability to send and receive mail.
While it’s fairly unforgivable to hide behind your desk while people pour their hearts out to provide feedback, you would think Minister Stone would at least have the decency to report this “tough” decision to the leaders of the impacted communities before going public with it. Seems like something any considerate person would do when essentially throwing a monkey wrench into the quality of life of so many.
But Minister Stone did not.
Instead, mayors from impacted coastal towns and villages either had to read about it online or, in the case of Queen Charlotte Mayor Carol Kulesha, listen to the same press conference media across the province were in on. There was no courtesy call, no explanation and once again no personal involvement in the “tough” decision he had to announce. Or, more likely, read from a statement prepared for him so he didn’t have to think about it.
If Minister Stone wanted us to believe this was a tough decision and not something green-lit with no consideration for the people being impacted, he failed in the most miserable way possible.