BC Ferries is world renown for servicing beautiful BC’s coastal communities. For rather obvious geographical reasons, BC Ferries hasn’t been known for servicing the Okanagan Valley. Until now that is!

Many have noted with wonder that BC Ferries Vacations is promoting their newest "Port of Call", the Okanagan – with Kelowna, Penticton and Osoyoos as featured destination cities. BC Ferries Vacations is encouraging Vancouver Islanders, Gulf Islanders and Sunshine Coasters to take a ferry and drive through Kamloops to the Okanagan to spend their thinly-stretched budgets in the interior of the province. Vacation packages include two-way passage on BC Ferries and accommodation at designated hotels.

BC Ferries needs to fill empty deck space caused in large part because the excessive fare increases demanded by the provincial government over the last several years has resulted in fewer vehicle passages while increasing the volume of foot passengers. Interestingly, all of the destination cities are represented by Liberal MLAs: Kelowna by Premier Christy Clark and Steve Thompson, Penticton by Dan Ashton, Osoyoos by Linda Lawson, and Kamloops, which gets a drive through mention, by Transportation Minister Todd Stone and Terry Lake.

More interesting is the fact that every one of the hotels promoted by BC Ferries Vacations are either directly and/or through their respective owners substantial financial contributors to the BC Liberal Party according to Elections BC data:

  • Hotel Eldorado in Kelowna - $3000 from 2005-07;
  • Kelowna Coast Capri and Osoyoos Coast - Coast Hotels $5558 from 2005-11;
  • Spirit Ridge Vinyard Resort and Spa - $6,434 from 2007-13, and to top it off,
  • Sandman Penticton - Sandman Hotels $101,225 from 2005-13.  $48,800 of the Sandman largesse was donated in the 2013 election year!

Intended or otherwise, it looks like it’s political payback time courtesy of BC Ferries Vacations. Frankly, it’s not a good look!


Jef Keighley,

Chair, BC Ferry Coalition