Premier Christy Clark speaks to the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler Friday.

Premier wants municipal pay to be election issue

Christy Clark says she'll wait until after November elections to talk with new councils about reining in pay for union, management staff

WHISTLER – Premier Christy Clark wants rising municipal pay rates to be front and centre in November elections around B.C., and that’s why her government set off a storm at the annual local government convention by releasing an unflattering comparison study with provincial pay.

In her speech to close the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention Friday, Clark told 2,000 local government delegates she is “not here to point a finger” at local governments, but she wants them to do the hard work of negotiations as the province did in the recent dispute with B.C. teachers.

A study by Ernst & Young 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.

“I think it’s a legitimate issue to be discussed because it’s taxpayers who pay for these compensation costs,” Clark told reporters after her speech. “Further than that we’ll wait until we have new municipal councils to speak with, and then we can talk about the next steps.”

NDP local government critic Selina Robinson said the report, prepared and leaked without notice to the UBCM, “hit a group of people over the head with a two-by-four.”

Robinson also objected to Clark urging B.C. residents to choose peaceful accommodation, saying the long and bitter strike that shut schools for five weeks is a poor example.

In her speech, Clark emphasized the importance of resource development, an apparent reference to the battle led by Burnaby against the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Clark announced the appointment of Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett to lead a rural advisory committee to give rural communities a “fair share” of resource development. She used the example of Princeton, a community of 3,000 that generates $750 million in economic activity from forestry and the Copper Mountain Mine.

Clark admitted the B.C. government has “fallen behind” on a long-standing government promise to extend broadband Internet to small communities, and vowed to renew efforts for communities such as Granisle, where fibre optic lines stopped just short of the community.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

48 years of the Christmas Tree tradition on the Nechako

You know the Christmas tree that is put up on the Nechako… Continue reading

Police reminding motorists to drive safely after responding to over seven collisions in one day

“We were very lucky that none of these collisions resulted in a fatality,” Sgt. Rodney Guthrie with the Vanderhoof RCMP said.

Letter: Don’t panic at the sight of our protective gear

Community Paramedic and Acting Paramedic Chief in Vanderhoof pens a letter to residents.

Are you ready for bear season?

BC Conservation Officer Service in Vanderhoof says people should take their bird feeders down until next winter.

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

Most Read