Ferry corporation share dealings probe demanded

by Anonymous

(The Bowen Island Undercurrent, December 19th 1997, p3: with permission)

The Bowen Island Ferry Fares Strategy Committee has issued a challenge to Deputy Premier Dan Miller, Minister responsible for the B.C.Ferry Corporation, to explain a dramatic share increase in a wholly owned subsidiary of a Crown Corporation and its rescue of a Victoria shipyard facing bankruptcy.

In a letter to Miller, strategy committee member Elbert Paul first requests an explanation of why B.C. Ferries, in a special resolution last May 20, increased the number of common shares of a subsidiary company Catamaran Ferries International Inc.(CFI)to 25 million from 100-when CFI's own articles of incorporation state it shall not offer shares to the public.

"As well,"said Paul, a chartered accountant and corporate controller,"please advise as to whether CFI has complied with relevant Cabinet and Treasury Board guidelines after giving consideration to the recent B.C.Hydro fiasco." He was alluding to last year's revelation that Hydo executives and their wives were among investors who, along with a Hydo subsidiary, purchased shares in a corporation developing a Pakistan generating station. Hydro's chairman and president were fired as a result.

In the current CFI affair, the question looms:for what purpose and to whom are those 25 million new shares being issued by a company that is building the new fleet of "fast" aluminium-hulled catamaran ferries?

Referring to another B>C>Ferries involvement, the stategy committee's letter also asks why the CFI entered into partnership arrangements with Vancouver Shipyards and Consolidated Pacific Industries, a consortium that included Point Hope Shipyard Ltd.(PHSL) of Victoria. At the time CFI gave it a secured contract,PHSL was near bankruptcy.

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