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

Column: Snow reveals the character of a community

For every internet complainer there were two more willing to help a neighbour

Car fire destroys vehicle in Chemainus

Traffic rerouted for a short time at the Henry Road roundabout

Ladysmith walks to help others on the Coldest Night of the Year

Community asked to step up for the local hungry and homeless

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read