Opportunity comes knocking...but no one's home

Given an opportunity to grill Partnerships British Columbia president and chief executive officer Larry Blain, you would think provincial New Democrats might want to know more about the new mandatory municipal capital project reviews that will now be conducted by his company. But you would be wrong. Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca legislator John Horgan did raise the issue of how this new work might impact Mr. Blain's performance-based compensation package. And good for him - even though that question has already been asked and answered by Monday Magazine's Russ Francis and The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer. But that was the extent of New Democratic curiosity. Of course, some might find this strange - especially since these mandatory reviews are of great concern to the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Then again, though, the New Democrats didn't put out a news release criticizing said policy until three days after it was first announced. So maybe they're just trying to be consistent.

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No doubt CUPE blasted the NDP for not jumping all over the Liberals when this announcement was made. Why the NDP waited for CUPE to dictate to them is unclear.

It’s much like the pay raise fiasco when Carole James cowardly ran off to Saskatchewan and left her MLA’s in the lurch to defend the agreement. No doubt big labor called her up to raise hell and next thing you know Carole James sold everyone out from Saskatchewan from the safety of her cell phone.

Given that BC is doing well and all MLA’s work just as hard as MP’s if not harder for half the money her cave in to the big labor agenda that politicians should get paid and treated like dirt mentality was a disrespectful sellout of her colleagues.

Carole James may not realize it, but she has turned the role of an MLA into a joke.

"Carole James may not realize it, but she has turned the role of an MLA into a joke."

This is a criticism no one else has ever made. Most observers, including Smyth and Palmer, have grudgingly credited James with bringing a more civil tone to BC politics. If anyone has undermined the stature of the Legislature and of its Members, that would be Premier Campbell and Health Minister Abbott who didn't want a Fall Session because they feared more questions on health issues, so they just cancelled it for partisan reasons.

Once that improved, more serious tone has been around for a few years, the general public may be more receptive to a pay raise for MLAs. Any suggestion that only public sector unions were shocked by the MLA pay raise proposal is certainly not consistent with the feedback I heard from all kinds of people who have never been members of any union.

That deal, on the NDP side at least, was the work of Mike Farnworth, a nice enough but not overly bright sort who is prone to a bit too much of an "insider" viewpoint, and with surprisingly little instinct for the public mood, especially for someone who openly aspires to the party leadership.

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