By Nicole Trigg
The majority of those who voted in the May 14th B.C. provincial election may have breathed a big sigh of relief when it was revealed that the BC Liberals’ platform of economic security had won in the end.
But now that it’s been announced that Premier Christy Clark has approved big raises for her political staff on the heels of unveiling her new cabinet, the honeymoon phase may be over.
Cabinet orders dated June 3rd pave the way for an 18 per cent increase to the maximum salary for the premier’s chief of staff, Dan Doyle, from $195,00 to $230,000. Another order provides for Clark’s new deputy chief of staff, Michele Cadario, to be paid a salary of $195,148. This, up from $144,000 a year. Maximum salaries for ministerial assistants have increased from $94,500 to $105,000.
According to Finance Minister Mike de Jong, the increases are from “reallocations from within, but the overall budget will be the same.”
What’s the NDP opposition saying? “None of these increases for political staff were included in the Liberal platform,” according to New Democrat house leader John Horgan.
Regardless if the extra money has been reallocated from within, or if it’s a paltry sum in light of the overall provincial budget, to approve six-figure salary increases immediately after an election is in exetremely poor taste.
According to the 2010 Statistic Canada census, the average family income (including couple families with or without children, and lone-parent families) is $66,970.
Most working individuals will never see an 18 per cent pay increase in their lifetime. Yet, here we have civil servants, who are already making well over the provincial average, being rewarded re-allocated funds that would better serve an under-staffed public education system or even a single, solitary family living below the poverty line.