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continuing our complaining

April 14, 2014

When Jude and I lived in the Bay Area, we went to many protests against the Iraq War and the War on Drugs, two of the most ill-advised U.S. ventures in its history.  We dissented often in Santa Rosa, where we lived; and attended two massive marches in San Francisco.  So even though we’re behaving ourselves here as we await Canadian citizenship, we were glad to stretch our protestor legs again last month.

The corporation that runs nearly all of the ferry services for Vancouver Island and its satellite isles is run with the venality and obtuseness of an American outfit.  It frequently raises its fees.  As of the first of this month, a passenger 12 years or older must pay $9.90 for a round trip from Campbell River on Vancouver Island to our little paradise of Quadra — a ten-minute sail.  Vehicles 20 feet or less cost $23.  Seniors 65+ used to be able to ride free most of the time.  Now they have to pay $4.95.

Discount cards are available, but I don’t think first-time customers like tourists are made aware of it.

Further, B.C. Ferries is cutting the last sailing of the day.  If you want to get to Quadra, you’ll have to be at the Campbell River terminal by 9:55 p.m. instead of 10:30 p.m.  No one is quite sure how the fare increases and reduced sailings will affect the area, but there is general agreement that this will negatively impact shift workers, school events and younger families.

A minor league hockey team in nearby Powell River says it may mean they can’t continue because it makes attending away games a hardship.  When you endanger hockey in Canada, you know you’ve got a genuine problem.

So last month about 200 of us from Quadra and neighbour Cortes Island filled four buses and trundled off to Victoria, B.C.’s provincial capital, to let the government know that this wasn’t cool.

Here’s some of the signs at the protest.

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Our friend and neighbour Ted had the tallest sign.

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While Ted ruled on the grounds, another friend, Gloria, stormed the steps of the parliament building.

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The legislators were so threatened by her, they shut down.

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We’d hoped for a larger turnout, but I think we mustered about a thousand folks.

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The protest was organized by Jim Abram, our regional director.  Jim has fought B.C. Ferries ferociously on this, and the battle isn’t over.  There have been subsequent protests.  Last Saturday Jim convinced other directors to condemn the corporation’s actions.  I laud him for his courage and perseverance.

 

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