Gobsmacked by MLA

I can't believe an Island MLA made those comments about the ferries

I almost aspirated my tea when I unfolded the Friday, Oct. 12 edition of your fine publication and saw the headline “Walk on, rent a car.” Ron Cantelon is quoted so, so I am obliged to take the quotation at reporter Neil Horner’s most credible word.

When I stopped coughing and read the article, I found myself absolutely gobsmacked that an Island MLA of any political stripe could possibly offer up such a ridiculous proposal to his/her constituents.

I’m sure that Cantelon does not pay to use the ferry, but regardless, he and the other MLAs on the Island know better than most others in our idle, non-sitting legislature that Island constituents depend on BC Ferries not only for personal travel, but for the transportation of goods we receive from the mainland.

Was Cantelon joking or quoted tongue-in-cheek? Was he again engaging mouth before putting brain into gear? Or was he merely reflecting the problem-solving process used by the B.C. Liberals?

If it was a joke, I am sure that thousands of low and fixed income islanders fell onto the floor laughing.

It would seem to this constituent that Cantelon’s quote is some combination of the latter two, speaking without thinking, and a reflection of the seemingly apparent ignorance of the BC Liberals as to the near critical financial condition of the low-fixed income class and the quickly disappearing middle class.

Let’s say a mother and child were required to travel to Abbottsford for a two-day trip. To rent a budget-type car as per Cantelon’s suggestion, one would have to take the bus to Vancouver (let’s say $15 return), rent a car ($49.36 x 2 for a total of $113.72).

To take one’s own car, the cost would be $49.25 x 2 (ferry cost for car) plus $22.25 x 2 (driver and child) for a total of $144.

The presumption is that the rental car mileage is free and the gas costs are equal (although gas in Abbottsford is $0.10 per litre cheaper).

To Cantelon’s credit, mother and child save $26.28 over the two-day trip. To his discredit, several hours are added to the trip in bus travel to and from Horseshoe Bay-Vancouver and picking up and dropping off the rental car in Vancouver.

Reading on further, Cantelon offers hope that the new ferries could/would be retrofitted with natural gas.

We produce natural gas in this province, and we import our oil. Where was the forward thinking re: natural gas use, when the German-built fuel pigs we currently use were built?

Apparently, time management means nothing to Cantelon and his government, as is evident by their hammering through hundreds of motions and laws in the last days of the spring sitting, then citing closure with no time to debate.

Then they suspend the fall session to “engage their constituents?” Where and when are the town hall meetings, and is the entire constituency invited to engage you — or just select supporters?

This constituent would love to engage Mr. Cantelon in a public forum about local issues, such as ferries, health care and hydro, along with provincial issues.

If he, as he often infers, is doing such a bang up job representing the residents of North Nanaimo to Parksville-Qualicum Beach, what does he have to hide?

Dana McComber


Nanoose Bay



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