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

Three UBC Okanagan students awarded women in tech scholarships

Computer science and math students hope the award will inspire others

Missing Kelowna woman, Cassy Miller found dead

Miller went missing Nov. 6 and was found 10 days later

Rockets break four game losing streak in Edmonton

The Rockets defeated the Oil Kings 3-1

Okanagan Floral Design students create elaborate Christmas arrangements

The students are making the floral arrangements as part of the Homes for the Holidays tour

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

Talks broke down between USW and IFLRA, resulting in booking out of provincial mediator

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read