First among equals

Earlier today, in a scrum, provincial Liberal Whip Randy Hawes defended last week's MLA pay hike saying, "I don't think that what we did was unjustified." Nothing surprising there. After all, Mr. Hawes is a member of the legislative assembly management committee - the body principally responsible for negotiating that hike. But what is interesting is that Mr. Hawes is also a member of the so-called "31 percent club" - the MLAs who would receive the biggest pay raises from Bill 17. Others in that exclusive clubhouse include Liberal and New Democrat caucus chairs Gordon Hogg and Jenny Kwan, as well as New Democrat House Leader Mike Farnworth. And guess what - they just so happen to be members of the legislative assembly management committee too (a point made by pundit David Schreck on Public Eye Radio this weekend). Speaker of the House Bill Barisoff and Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong also sit on that committee.

13 Comments

Why didn't they just get an independant panel to make the recommendations?

I am positive that the panel would have recommended something pretty much like what they are proposing to do. If they allowed an independant panel to do it, they could be in a much better position.

Being a politician is one of the most thankless tasks in society -- the media is disgusting on most days. MLA's should be compensated for the bullshit they deal with every day.

If people are jealous of MLA pay, they can always run for office themselves.

I agree with the idea of an independent panel, and this committee recommended another approach to taking the decision out of the hands of the sitting group of provincial legislators. In future, the indemnity of a BC MLA will be set a 60% of the pay for a Federal MP.

I think it should be pointed out, though, that in matters concerning pay for any number of publicly funded jobs, not just politicians, but judges and in fact entire pay categories of public servants, governments will not allow independent recommendations to go forward if they think that inexpedient. A good example was the BC Crown Prosecutors.

I never understood why the public accepts MPs being paid so much more than MLAs.

Great commentary by all above.

I was appalled at the timing. I think an independent panel would have seen this.

Being a politician in the good old days meant perks but not a great deal of pay. The trade off being that there was not so much intrusion into one's personal life etc. But along came Bud Smith and his celebrated appendage, and it's been downhill ever since. Even before that, Bob McClelland and Peter Hyndman. in Bennett cabinets, and others had seemingly very human indiscretions: what they did amounted to nothing--something any of us could have done. But, the Budmeister really did us all in, and so, qualified folks are largely disposed to staying in the private sector and accordingly away from the public arena.

Now you have the reverse: finally good pay, but people are allowed to park themselves on your front lawn. It's shifted in the opposite direction, so we still get bottom barrel scrapings like Jenny Kwan and Sheila Orr.

Pity.

An independent panel should be the way to go. The only road out of this now is to repeal and go the route of independent counsel. They be back in play by Christmas.

Great commentary by all above.

I was appalled at the timing. I think an independent panel would have seen this.

Being a politician in the good old days meant perks but not a great deal of pay. The trade off being that there was not so much intrusion into one's personal life etc. But along came Bud Smith and his celebrated appendage, and it's been downhill ever since. Even before that, Bob McClelland and Peter Hyndman, in Bennett cabinets, and others, had seemingly very human indiscretions: what they did amounted to nothing--something any of us could have done. But, the Budmeister really did us all in, and so, qualified folks are largely disposed to staying in the private sector and accordingly away from the public arena. We all want a private life to remain just that, private.

Now you have the reverse: finally good pay, but people are allowed to park themselves on your front lawn. It's shifted in the opposite direction, so we still get barrel bottom scrapings like Jenny Kwan and Sheila Orr.

Pity.

An independent panel should be the way to go. The only road out of this now is to repeal and go the route of independent counsel. They'd be back in play by Christmas.

Never fear, Lefties, your beloved (and ever more efficient) public sector will get their raise in the next round of collective bargaining, and they probably should get the COLA, at least.

But what the f*ck were MLA's thinking? A small increase... sure, in line with whatever public sector would receive. 12 to what was it, 20%? By the Unholy Gods!

Truly insane, and this coming from one favourably disposed towards the BC Liberals!!

"But along came Bud Smith and his celebrated appendage, and it's been downhill ever since. Even before that, Bob McClelland and Peter Hyndman, ... But, the Budmeister really did us all in ..."

Once Again, is this about Rocky and the car phone?

I knew Bud Smith. He was an acquaintance of mine. And Once Again, he was no appendage! Why one of his more recent gigs was working for the Anglican Church, for Christ's sakes. So can we please have a little bit of respect around here? (None for Bernard, Mike Geoghegan or Steve Hopkins, of course.)

"... working for the Anglican Church, for Christ's sakes". What do you know. Budd actually has a sense of humour. Must have been unintentional.

Yes Buddly, it was all about the Rocky herself!

Since then, the media broke everyone's cherry and now you have assholes sleeping on people's lawns, which I object to very much.

I was appalled when it started with an occupation of Grace's Shuaghnessy digs, as much as I was appalled by the intrusion of Glen's EastEnd abode. If you don;t offer some protection to these people, or any real salry increase (within reason and appropriately timed) then why should anyone of quality run?!

Omstead we get the likes of Harry Lali and Lorne May-in-court.

Jesus Murphy!

I feel betrayed by Campbell and Co. This isn't what his government stood for when I voted them in - I voted for the 'eliminate gold plated pensions' government, not these gusy who apparently can't live on $100,000 a year while denying teaches who put in similar out-of-school hours a payraise. Very upset.

The timing, it is true, was just plain stupid. And so was the manner in which it was done.

However that's not what is really behind the reaction. The fact is most of us are convinced our politicans are not doing anything to serve us, and therefore aren't worth any money at all.

What would be the result for B.C. if we shut down the Legislature right now? Answer: nothing. Our massive government bureaucracies would carry on as they always do.

Try getting some attention from your MLA - on any issue, no matter how consequential. They are working their butts off? Take a look at the calendar for the Legislature. Wish I could find a gig like that. And is anyone taking attendance?

My own MLA (Vancouver - Burrard) won't lift a finger to assist me with an issue I have been pursuing with him for over a year. Won't meet with me. Won't talk to me. I'm told now that he's not available until 2006, because after the session ends on Thursday, he's off to Europe. It's partly on business I'm told (something about addiction). I guess that means either he's paying for the trip and we are benefitting or we are paying and he's benefitting.

Any bets on which?

I think an argument exists for an MLA pension plan. After all, if an ex MLA can’t get a job in the real world like Gary Collins, they risk ending up becoming perpetually unemployed hacks like David Schreck.

I seriously doubt that all fedeated MLAs end up like David Shrek. And that's to their credit.

"Never could stand that dog."
-- Tom Waits

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