Valued employees

Earlier, we reported retired senior bureaucrat Lee Doney is being directly awarded a contract - whose value "will not exceed $70,000" - to "provide leadership and strategic advice" related to the British Columbia Ambulance Service. Some may consider that a reasonable sum, given Mr. Doney's resume. But this is the same agency that presently pays on-call paramedics in remote areas $2 per hour. And that means, says provincial New Democrat health critic Adrian Dix, "Mr. Doney's contract - in the short period of time he'll have it - could pay for 35,000 hours of that service...So what's good enough for your average ambulance attendant is apparently not good enough for your average senior executive."


I can't wait to here some of our BC Liberal supporters posting messages to the effect that the only real reason that the ambulance budget isn't sufficient to cover all reasonable needs is high union wages for the attendants, and for the public service generally. These postings will come from some of the same people who will praise Fin Min Taylor for settling all the public service contracts without a work stoppage, ... contracts that include the very wage schedules they claim were too high to begin with! This kind of endless non-logic goes on all the time whenever wage levels, and especially the various differentials in earnings come up for discussion.

There is, of course, some quite genuine concern about how to provide enough variation in wages so that skilled positions will attract enough applicants who have undertaken further education and training, often at considerable expense, without leaving less skilled workers at wage levels insufficient to meet basic needs. That's an especially urgent question in those areas of BC that have the highest housing prices in the nation, despite still being essentially a regional, resource economy and with far fewer head office jobs than even Calgary, let alone Toronto. But the debate we usually get isn't about the serious issues, it's just about various petty jealousies and political targetting that's based on exploiting various almost Victorian-era perceptions around "what kind of chap" should be making what kind of income.

Whats Dix's point? that we should rather be paying for 35000 hours of a paramedic _not_ doing work?

The $2.00 an hour rate applies not to the hourly rate of pay while 'on the job' but to the time in-between when you're home but are expected to be ready to respond to calls.

Excellent comment, Sean. Thanks.

Whats Dix's point? that we should rather be paying for 35000 hours of a paramedic _not_ doing work?

Posted by Bob on October 20, 2006 11:57 AM

Like I said.

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