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BC Ferries ignores government, reappoints director to two boards

Less than three weeks after the release of a finance ministry report that said the same people should not serve on the boards of both the B.C. Ferry Authority and B.C. Ferry Services Inc., at least one director has been reappointed to both.

Gordon Larkin, the representative for organized labour, will continue on both boards, the Tyee has learned.

In a report released earlier this month comptroller general Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland raised concerns that the nine members on the Authority board were in a conflict of interest having appointed themselves to the BCFS board.

"The interests of the Authority as shareholder are not identical to the interests of BCFS," the report said. "As a result, the Authority's proper role as overseer of BCFS has been compromised. The absence of independent oversight of BCFS by the Authority weakens accountability and increases the risk that the company's spending and priorities may not be acceptable to its shareholders."

The report recommended the members of the Authority board be asked to resign to resolve the problem.

Representatives of neither B.C. Ferries nor the Authority, which uses the same phone number as B.C. Ferries, returned calls by posting time.

Asked about Larkin's reappointment, Transportation Minister Shirley Bond said, “I'm not aware of that.”

She added, “We certainly are going to be looking at the comptroller general's report and looking at the whole accountability mechanism. Not aware of the reappointment, but I'll have a look.”

New Democratic Party ferry critic Gary Coons said he believes as many as two other directors may also have been reappointed to both boards. Coons called it an “overzealous action” that “flies in the face of the comptroller general's report” and shows B.C. Ferries' contempt for that report.

“Minister Bond should stop dithering, act immediately and ask the nine members of the Authority to resign . . . so that authority members are independent of its Board members,” he said. “It is clear that the Minister is quickly losing credibility on this file and needs to ensure the necessary legislation is in place as soon as possible.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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