|CCGC Point Henry, by CCG|
A couple of days ago, the Canadian federal Minister of Fisheries, Keith Ashfield, was under scrutiny by local media Chek TV news reporter, after a brief funding announcement in Nanaimo. Of course, he was whisked away to more “important things”, before he could give a meaningful answer to the reporter’s question as to why the Conservative party is closing numerous front line Canadian Coast Guard installation in BC. The government is touting cost savings as a motive for closing Vessel Traffic Services stations in Ucluelet, Comox, and Vancouver, and Coast Guard rescue base at Kitsilano, in Vancouver’s harbour. However, the Conservative’s man in the area, MP James Lunney, has stated the bureaucrats at CCG are the one responsible for the cuts, not the politicians.
Whatever the case may be, Chek TV followed up with a question to the Fisheries Minister on the recent sale of two rescue cutters, the CCGC Point Race and the CCGC Point Henry, at bargain basement prices. He had even less to say about that.
Both of the hardy vessels served the coast for 30 years, based in Campbell River and Prince Rupert. The local waters in these area are notoriously unpredictable and tumultuous, therefore requiring a reliable and “bigger chunk of boat”. They were replaced in 2011 with the standardized 47 foot motor lifeboat.
The bidder was reportedly surprised at the low $90,000 price tag for the well maintained vessel, so much so that he bought the sister ship for another $90,000. The owner of Daigle Marine, boat builders in Campbell River, pinned their value between $500,000 to $600,000, each. A smoking deal indeed.
In a related story, the small ‘aids to navigation’ tender, multipurpose, vessel CCGS Tsekoa II has been sold to Canpac Divers of Vancouver. The vessel was originally built for the Minister of Transport to maintain the wharves on the BC coast. However, the government, in the late nineties “cost cutting” exercise, transferred the vessel to the Fisheries Department, who had her painted in Canadian Coast Guard colors to help bolster the image of capability – despite cutting numerous vessels. However, there was little money to operate her, so she sat idle at Pat Bay, near Victoria for a decade. That is until 2010, when she was “sold” to UVic for the princely sum of one dollar. A smoking deal, again.
|UVic’s plans for Tsekoa II|
The ship was to undergo conversion work to become a super duper eco friendly research ship, doubling as an advance study in alternative propulsion. Much fanfare and public grant money was spent, but ultimately the project collapse under its own weight due to inadequate funding.
A private diving services company bought the ship last week, for “close to” $180,000, a pretty decent profit for UVic, considering it had it bought from Coast Guard for one dollar. I guess UVic’s business school rep is well deserved, since they turned a handsome profit from the venture.
I am in Montreal now, where a corruption inquiry is hearing explosive testimony of bribes, taxes, mafia, politicians, bureaucratic incompetence, double speak, and a whole host of unpleasant going ons. And all of it, funded by Canadian tax payers like myself.
All of it, makes me feel like a real fucking idiot, to be honest.
One bright side, the vessels mentioned above are staying in BC waters. Another bright side, we don’t get all the government we pay for… thank god.