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

VIDEO: Highway 3A reopened after mudslide cleared

A mudslide closed Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson just north of the Brilliant Dam on Wednesday.

Rossland couple caught in Kootenay Pass avalanche

“The snow was fast, you couldn’t outrun it.”

VIDEO: Rossland elders take second annual trip up Grey and Granite

That trip was organized by Ritchie Mann, who Greene “blamed” for the entire adventure.

Black Jack building a new trail at biathlon area

The Black Jack Ski Club will be building a new recreational trail at the Hanna Creek Biathlon Area.

Couple charged in Fruitvale incident plead not guilty

A couple charged in an incident that started in Fruitvale on Tuesday, April 3 pleaded not guilty.

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Most Read