NDP Leader Adrian Dix promised to freeze BC Ferries fares starting next year.
It's the kind of move you'd expect the party to unveil on the coast. Or even on a ferry.
But Dix made the announcement in the Fraser Valley. He also committed to conducting an audit of the company. The NDP were vehemently opposed to the restructuring of the ferry service ten years ago, when the BC Liberals turned the Crown corporation into an arm's length, publicly-owned but privately-managed entity.
An audit, which would include another look at executive salaries, could be the first step in restoring the service to Crown corporation status, although Dix has often downplayed expectations of how much change the NDP would undertake if they win the May 14 election.
An extensive review of service levels was just completed and submitted to government a few weeks ago, with a view to reducing sailings on low-usage routes.
Dix said the party would commit $40 million over two years to cover foregone schedule fare increases.
Apart from the future of BC Ferries, the announcement also raises questions about the future of the B.C. Ferry Commmissioner, the independent regulator that oversees the service. That office, occupied by Gordon Macatee, now has the authority to set fares.