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

Endoscopy Campaign wraps up at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

The KBRH Health Foundation recently held a donor ceremony for contributors to its $450,000 tally

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Passion for the fiddle keeps Kootenay culture alive

Proceeds from the Calvin Vollrath show in Trail will help support the 2019 Kootenay fiddle camp

Nelson police find $16K worth of suspected fentanyl, meth in minivan

Two people face charges of possession and trafficking in a controlled substance

COLUMN: Meet Todd Coyne, our new editor

Todd Coyne takes charge of five Black Press newspapers in the West Kootenay

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Picket lines went up at 4 a.m Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Tolko Lakeview Division in Williams Lake

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Prince Harry and Meghan start Aussie tour with baby gifts

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

EU’s Barnier hopes Brexit deal possible in ‘coming weeks’

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March, but a Brexit agreement must be sealed in coming weeks to leave enough time for relevant parliaments to ratify it.

Earth samples show dust from B.C. pipeline blast not a health threat: Enbridge

Enbridge says earth sampling shows mineral and metal composition is well below provincial and federal standards for urban and residential areas.

Postal services ready for looming wave of legal cannabis deliveries

Legal cannabis is set to usher in a wave of high-value, age-restricted parcels in the mail system, and delivery companies say they’re ready.

Mega Millions prize of $654M is nation’s 4th-largest

No one has won the U.S. jackpot in almost three months

Most Read