NDP leader John Horgan speaks to delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Whistler Thursday

Horgan blasts ‘shoddy’ municipal pay study

NDP leader John Horgan says leaked report on generous pay hikes 'an insult' to councils before their November elections

WHISTLER – NDP leader John Horgan used his first speech to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention to blast the B.C. government for a report criticizing generous wage hikes for municipal staff.

“The B.C. Liberals are saying to you, you don’t know how to run a peanut stand,” Horgan told delegates at the Whistler Conference Centre Thursday.

Horgan drew applause when he called the report “shoddy, politically motivated” and an “an insult” to mayors, councillors and regional district directors, purposely leaked before the UBCM meetings to embarrass local politicians heading into their November elections.

The Ernst and Young study was released days before the convention by the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. It calculated that unionized municipal staff received pay increases of 38 per cent between 2001 and 2012, twice as much as unionized provincial staff, and ahead of inflation of 23 per cent during the same period.

The report also highlighted the escalation of senior municipal staff salaries, with city managers in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Abbotsford and Maple Ridge making more than the $230,000 paid to provincial deputy ministers.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong acknowledged that there are “some gaps in the data” used in the report, which was compiled without the knowledge or participation of local governments. But he said it is a reminder of how the province balanced its budget starting last year.

“In our case a big part of that is being very disciplined in negotiations on wage settlements,” de Jong said in an interview. “And if you don’t apply that discipline, your cost structure can get out of hand pretty quickly.”

Horgan praised public education and accused the government of “disrespecting” teachers during their recent strike, promising an NDP government would do better.

He praised a study done for the UBCM on the impact of increasing ferry fares, and accused Transportation Minister Todd Stone of replying to it with “a four-page lecture about how things are going to get better with another four per cent increase” and converting the fleet’s largest vessels to use natural gas fuel.

 

Just Posted

7th annual Invermere Music Fest

A snapshot of the festival

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Need cash to splash

Radium Sunrise Rotary Club wants to build a splash park in Radium Hot Springs

Kootenay National Park about to turn 100

Ninety-nine years of publicly-accessible wilderness

Water bottling facility proposed in Canal Flats

Source of the Columbia Beverages Inc. promises jobs and financial investment into community

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Most Read