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.

 

Just Posted

Province announces $2.5-million boost to increase tourism in B.C.’s resort towns

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Rossland moves forward on single-use plastic bag ban bylaw

Bylaw given first reading at last council meeting

Premier Horgan talks jobs and opportunity at Castlegar mill

Upbeat visit brings message of hope and co-operation among Kootenay forestry players

Recycle major appliances for free in Kootenay Boundary

Free service begins May 1; Refrigerant appliances not included at Greater Trail regional landfill

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

Drug decriminalization report welcomed in East Kootenay

Provincial report recommends decriminalizing people who use illicit drugs, shift focus to treatment

New flight service an ‘angel’ for medical patients

Angel Flight East Kootenay will fly medical patients to Kelowna or Vancouver

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Amber alert issued for 5-year-old Ontario boy

Ethan Montes is believed to be in the company of his mother, 47-year-old Juliet Mohammed

Family dog stolen from Kootenay backyard

RCMP appealing for information on pregnant Karelian bear dog missing from Elko, B.C.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Most Read