As a rule, your humble organ doesn't report on news in news releases. But sometimes rules need to be broken: earlier, we told you provincial New Democrat MLAs would likely suffer more than the Liberals as a result of their joint decision to increase member salaries. But now, bowing to public and party pressure, Carole James has backed down from supporting that increase. In a statement issued moments ago, Ms. James (who is presently in Saskatchewan) wrote she is urging government "to withhold Royal Assent and Proclamation of Bill 17. I am also calling for the full package to be referred to an independent panel for full public review and input with a report to the legislature in the spring." According to our operatives, if the Liberals don't go along with that recommendation, rumour has it the New Democrat MLAs are prepared to refuse the pay raise in Bill 17. The following is a complete copy of Ms. James's statement.
Statement from Carole James
Following the passage of Bill 17, I have listened closely to British Columbians. Serious concerns have been expressed about the process we took to arrive at the decision to increase MLA salaries, pensions and the resources to serve constituents.
In politics it's important to listen. That's why I am asking the government to withhold Royal Assent and Proclamation of Bill 17. I am also calling for the full package to be referred to an independent panel for full public review and input with a report to the legislature in the spring.
I entered public life to do politics differently, to help re-establish faith in our democratic institutions and to provide new leadership and a new tone to the public dialogue. The NDP Caucus takes full responsibility for failing to meet that standard on this issue. And that's why we are taking this action today.
For more information contact Scott Perchall 604-862-7747