Shipbuilding Act good for B.C.’s economy

Legislation introduced today would nurture B.C.’s shipbuilding industry, benefit the province’s economy, and create jobs, say B.C.’s New Democrats.

“The Provincial Shipbuilding Act would ensure that ferries, seabuses and any other vessels used by or for the public are built, maintained and retrofitted in Canada and provide direct economic benefits here in B.C.,” said Claire Trevena, New Democrat spokesperson for ferries.

Trevena noted that when she proposed similar legislation last year, it was not met with support by the B.C. Liberal government.

“B.C. Ferries will be converting the Spirit Class vessels to LNG and needing to replace or upgrade 22 other ferries over the next 15 years. If these ferries were built in this province, we would see tremendous growth in this industry. But this would require a commitment from the Liberal government that we have not seen to date. In fact, we are seeing the B.C. Liberals agreeing to more and more ships built overseas.”

The bill would also entrench an apprenticeship program into B.C.’s shipbuilding industry to guarantee that we grow the jobs and the skills needed for a solid industry into the future.

“Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the construction of ferries in Europe and the increased maintenance costs that incurs, this bill would see that this money is invested back in the B.C. economy, creating good jobs for workers here,” said Trevena.

Trevena added that a study by the Columbia Institute showed that the construction of just three ferries in B.C. would add $378.5 million to the provincial economy, and result in $200 million in consumer spending and $100 million in taxes.

“For every 100 jobs created in shipbuilding, 135 additional jobs are created elsewhere. This is an industry that B.C. should be proud of, and passing this legislation would ensure we are doing everything possible to help it thrive,” said Trevena.

Claire was first elected May 17, 2005 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for North Island and was re-elected May 12, 2009 and again on May 14, 2013. She is currently Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Transportation, which also includes BC Ferries.