The Liberal brain trust decided long ago that veracity should always rank behind expediency. The infamous 2001 platform document A New Era for British Columbia demonstrates that deceit was a Liberal strategy from the start. It was there they promised to "Not sell or privatize BC Rail" even though the mechanics of the sale were already being planned.
Throughout Christy Clark's government, the standard for reporting is not truth, it's political convenience. Too often, senior bureaucrat are appointed for PR skills rather than management abilities and they are expected to follow the lead of politicians in saying only that which serves the government cause. David Hahn was an example at BC Ferries. Sadly, it appears the same applies to Mike Corrigan, Hahn's replacement.
Corrigan appeared on Sean Leslie's CKNW program June 17. He was explaining how a net loss of $16.5 million at BC Ferries was actually good news.
"...Throughout the year, we lost $30 million more in revenue than we expected but we were able to claw back all of that and a bit more through good financial management...Let's test the accuracy of those statements by reference to BC Ferries financial statements.
"We're dealing with what every other major ferry operator is dealing with right now and that's a downturn in traffic... They're seeing something similar."
"...Our gift shops - that part of the business is actually really growing significantly over the last year. We're seeing double digit increases year over year. So we're doing what we can to generate revenues wherever we can and managing costs..."
Did BC Ferries lose $30 million in expected revenues in fiscal 2012? In fact, tarrifs were down by only $1 million in 2012 compared to fiscal 2011. If they were truly expecting an increase of $30 million, they are bigger fools than we suspected.
Corrigan said that other ferry operators are dealing with significant traffic reductions but Washington State ferries reports almost no decrease in vehicle and passenger loadings in 2011 compared to 2010 or in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year before. But then, WSF doesn't have high priced management to screw things up.
The Alaska Marine Highway System is a substantially smaller ferry system. Nevertheless, its traffic in 2011 was up 3% over 2010. Traffic of Sydney Ferries in Australia has increased in each of the last five years, including 2% in the last year.
The BC Ferries CEO claims that gift shop business is growing by double digits. In fact, retail revenues were down by 3% in 2012 compared to 2011 and are down more than 5% in the last two years.
If this reflects Corrigan's knowledge of the company he manages, we must wonder how he is worth almost $600,000 a year.
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