Consider the ‘service’ in ferry service

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It’s interesting that, since the awarding of a contract on Nov. 13 for a new ferry, all we seem to be hearing about is how the government somehow failed the province by not imposing more local benefits.

I’d like to remind Telegram columnist Patrick Butler (“Government misses boat on ferry contract,” Nov. 25) that the government dithered for seven to eight years because of precisely these issues, even after the vessel replacement study was completed in 2006.

While this was going on, the fleet got older, the service got poorer and the people on island communities found it more and more difficult to carry on their lives in a way that people on mainland Newfoundland take for granted.

Congratulations to whomever in the government finally decided to say “enough is enough” and get on with the renewal of the fleet.

The people in island communities, like all Newfoundlanders, would have ideally preferred to have 100 per cent local content, but not if it means everyone else keeps on arguing about industrial benefits to the detriment of actual service to our communities.

Getting the job done

How about some discussion about how ferry service impacts people’s day-to-day lives?

And I don’t mean the sensational stuff about occasional tourists who miss their flight because the ferry line-up was too long.

Excuse me if I’m skeptical of Mr. Butler’s protestations of understanding (a) the history and issues, (b) the actual lives of people on island communities, or (c) even what the word “system” actually means in a “transportation system.” 

He states “(the government) shows no consideration for local investment and little ethical concern (whatever that means) for Newfoundland and Labrador interests.”

I guess including the actual level of service provided by the fleet to communities is an incidental issue not worthy of consideration? 

Seems like a considerable “local benefit” to me…

David Carlson

Change Islands Transportation Committee

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, David CarlsonChange Islands

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