Former highways minister soon to hit the road?

This afternoon, CHNL reported "It appears now there's a split within the NDP on the issue of a MLA pay increase of up to 29 percent. While party leader Carole James has said the party will reject the legislation, the outspoken MLA for Yale-Lillooet Harry Lali says he intends to support the measures." Mr. Lali was clipped as saying, "I'm not going to be a hypocrit and speak in favour of a pension plan and a pay raise for MLAs and ask for an independent panel and then go into the house and vote against it. I am in support of this package that the independent panel has put forward. And so when I go into the legislature I will be supporting it." Needless to say, more than a few New Democrat legislators are steamed at Mr. Lali. And there's been some suggestions he could lose his post as deputy caucus chair - or even be kicked out of caucus.

20 Comments

It's not as if this Dipper MLA has been happy with Carole James' leadership. But what a stupid issue to split with her on.

More stupider is that this is the genius who forgot to make the HOV Lane on the Port Mann Bridge reversible.

Good to see Harry have the guts to stand up and fight for what he believes

I am in no way a supporter of Lali or the NDP but I have to admire him on this one. The MLAs are underpaid and should be paid more. Many civil servants are paid more than an MLA. If we want to attract good people to government we need to pay a competitive salary compared to comparable jobs.

Is there a problem getting people to run to be MLAs?

Last time I looked, it has been a long time since there was an acclamation. Last two person race was in 1991 - Lali v Rabbit (interesting footnote, Harry Lali won but did get over 50% of the votes cast, about 5% were spoiled). We have no shortage of people wanting to be MLAS and no shortage of good quality people wanting to run.

Frankly, if someone does not want to be an MLA because it does not pay well enough, odds are they are not someone that will be a good representative.

MLAs are clearly not highly paid, but their existing salary is not bad at all and puts them into the higher earning categories. For the vast majority of people in BC, being an MLA would a pay increase.

Lower pay for MLAs may deter lawyers, but that would be a good thing. We really have had too many lawyers in politics.

Bottomline is that people want to MLAs and will do it for a relatively low salary, why pay them more if they willing to do it for less?

this is the straw that broke Carole james's back!

1. They don't go into politics for the money, they go into politics for the networking and after stepping down = this is great for getting employment after.
2. They only have the status as most of the work if delegated to assistants, etc.
If this is enacted then the minimum wage should be $10 to $12 per hour.
Just an extra beef here re: homeowners pick up the taxes for businesses = the ones who have still whine about how much they don't have and want more but less responsibility. i.e. have you seen our roads lately - is it only automobiles using the roads creating all the pot holes that nobody does anything about?

Bernard
Your Walmart approach toward finding political nervana leaves me gasping.

"Elect me and I'll work piece-work plus incentives.

"PS: Your contributions are income tax deductable."

I'm with Lali in this fight. James flip-flopped last time around on this and now appears about to muddy the water yet again.

These people are entitled to a salary increase. Should it be 29 percent? I don't know, but let's get real, we don't need people chasing that extra bucks in the legislature. Also bring back the formal pension arrangements and end the charade started by the Reformists in the last millenium.

Bernard,

It is not true that most MLA's receive a higher salary compared to their former salary. In fact, the panel found that a sizeable majority - I believe it was reported at around 80 percent - take a paycut.

Look, these people work long hours and the sacrifices they are asked to make in terms of their careers and, more importantly, family, are enormous. And if you think there are lucrative executive postions awaiting them after politics, think again. A lot of MLA's have difficulty re-establishing themselves because of the misplaced contempt with which they are held in public.

There is a two-fold issue here. First, there is little question we are not attracting the best and the brightest to public office. Second, these are important positions in society and, given the sacrifice our existing MLAs make, their current salaries and lack of benefits (no long-term disability plan, for instance) are an absolute disgrace.

"There is a two-fold issue here. First, there is little question we are not attracting the best and the brightest to public office. "

Are those who receive a higher salary in the private sector automatically better in public life than those who don't? I've met some high priced people who are pretty ignorant of public policy and a few are perpetually self-important individuals who don't care much about the community unless it means benifits to them.

The self-important ones are a real bore. I've met
millionaire successful people who are alot of fun
to be with as well and have alot of respect for
them as they don't flash their money around.

In fact there are a few millionaire MLA's I've
known who actually don't do anything other than
the basic things for their constituents and their
local riding associations abysmal.

Some of the Ministerial Assistants I've met are
worse, even though there is a mantra of "attracting the best" at that level.

What would be considered to be 'the best'?

I would support a community minded person who
owns 'Robert's Radio Shop' who has poured many
volunteer hours in the local community, or helped the community's political fortunes over another who is a $200 an hour lawyer or accountant
or president of a 300 employee development company who spends more time networking at the golf course at at business lunches and does nothing for the local community or doesn't get
involved at the political level at all.

Some of whom I've met actually think they should be given a nomination. Fat chance that will happen.

It's more of who is better to serve the public's
interest rather than one's own interest.

"Second, these are important positions in society and, given the sacrifice our existing MLAs make, their current salaries and lack of benefits (no long-term disability plan, for instance) are an absolute disgrace."

True. But let's not keep raising the salaries
again and again. Stick with this one time boost
to 29% and then raise according to the CPI afterwards.

The taxpayers are not wanting to see $175,000
a year MLA's, especially when the House does not
sit for more than 70 days a year.

Maybe Harry is pushing for an increase, even though he and all MLA's pay goes up each year?

Maybe the perks arn't enough? Maybe the gift of $7,000 a year from the tax payer for a RRSP isn't enough, nor the per diem when in town? Wonder where Harry worked before he got this job? With a basic degree he wouldn't be in the high earners bracket. Maybe he want's a pension which is pretty good for time served?

Many of us worked for up to 35 years for assorted gtovernemnts, some even longer, paying in 7% of our salary to get a small pension. After 35 years I get less a year than his raise is going to be.I didn't get to directly vote for my raises. I had to get promoted or hope the government would raise our stipend a bit now and again. I will stack up my licenses against his junion degree anytime. We worked where sent. We signed on each five years knowing the pay and the conditions, but sign we did. Many of us got shot at, friends were killed in accidents or injured. Still we stayed and yes we did get a pension. But Harry wants everything real quickly. The caucus should belt him out of the extra position he is getting paid for now and across the floor, where it seems he really belongs. Maybe Gordon will give him a better paying position. Do the right thing Ms. James, drop him.

I hear on the radio that harry has had a change of heart. I hope that Ms. James shows him the door. Party faithful sure won't be impressed with the, yes I am, well not for sure. Go away Harry you are lowering the standards.

I am an NDP'er and I am aware that the party is split in many directions , partly due to the complexities of issues these days. Like the Democrats in the USA there are shifting sands and the party is struggling to define some common visions. Maybe a split may not be bad in the long run if it means we will stand for something, unlike the Fibs who are bought and sold, and doing the bidding of big business.This is the payoff they have been waiting for and they want their money for a job well done. The issue maybe that maybe the community knows that this is a payoff, that they are corrupted and self serving, and that they are not really working for the constituents.Many resent this cash grab, especially after all the bs and cost cutting done in the name of deregulating, phony accounting ,deficit creation, phony corporate self regulating accountability and miracle recovery and clearing the coast for the business men who are raking the tax dollars through Olympic projects and real estate specs.The homeless are the metaphor of the results of the liberal agenda.Gary Collins is a good example of this fine liberal spirit who say they stand for better efficiencies, better services,better service delivery, but really only stand for laundering their pockets doing the bidding of business and lucrative post service consulting fees. I admire Carol's stand and believe that this is a statement about standing for some principles and not being coopted.Carole has made the mistake that you can can cooperate with the corrupted,albeit with good intentions as she did early in her mandate. If we lose Harry so be it.I am sure we will gain those who stand for something and gain real strength that cannot be eroded by Can West or smear campaigns waged by executive assistants and Gordos or outrageous pay increases.Allelujah, a breath of fresh air is in the stench of BC politics and I admire her courage and decency in this decsion.If the Fiberal double bind results in some weak NDP mla's being coopted it may be better for the party in the long run.personally I think the NDP did as well as they did last time was because of the stench of liberal policies rather than just Carol's leadership. It was a protest vote. I think Carole now understands that protest and that protest is still if not more relevent today.

I fully agree with Grit Guy about millionaires. Attracting high-earners to office doesn't necessarily mean a "raise" of quality... However, there needs to be some incentive for lower-income people, as well! Why would genuinely decent community-minded people subject themselves and their families to such long hours, endless travel and abuse, having to answer to 50,000 people, having to put up with political-party bs, having a HUGE responsibility of being a primary and ultimate decision-maker of behalf of a large region/community... for the equivalent wage, or little more, of what they were making at home?

Maybe for personal vanity. Maybe for lifelong partisan-party (usually over community) loyalty. And that's a pretty good reflection of who we end up with at the current salaries.

Not to mention that an MLA is expected to personally donate to every big & little charitable project/event going on in their community.

I sympathize with DL, but if he were my MLA I'd certainly expect and WANT him to be getting paid a lot more than whatever job he was doing when he was getting shot at. I think we should expect and envision high standards from our public officials. Make the argument "Why should they get paid more than the dog catcher?" and, well, you're going to end up with a wannabe dog catcher as your MLA. Not even the real deal, as why would he leave his current job!?

It's important to realize that the history of these salaries is that rich industrialists were our MLAs and MPs, their Houses sat even less than BC's did last year, and they basically used their profile and policy-making in public office to support their full-time corporate endeavours. Similarly, Olga Ilich can feel good about putting in her community service as an MLA for less than she usually makes while she surely simultaneously rakes in a million-plus in real estate and investments. But many other people aren't afforded this luxury/standing, rely on the MLA's salary as their only income, and need to be compensated fairly for the time and responsibility they take on.

I do think it's a good thing to be able to attract "the best and brightest" of those already making 6 figures (or close to it), but we also need to make the job affordable and worthwhile to "the best and brightest" who aren't.

"It is not true that most MLA's receive a higher salary compared to their former salary. In fact, the panel found that a sizeable majority - I believe it was reported at around 80 percent - take a paycut."

I wonder who exactly did they ask? It would seem true at the higher end of lawyer anc corporate CEO level, but the majority of people who run are not the six figure types. The majority who do run
are of the small business owners, and many do not make $100,000 a year.

SB,

That was one of the most pathetic posts in recent memory.

Carole has courage? She has folded at basically every instance where there has been any controversy where she has had to make a decision.

Remember her former friend Louise Burgart from her school board days ? Carole agreed to support her until there was controversy; the moment there was controversy she flip flopped and bailed out.

Remember the last time there was a pay increase? It was revealed both sides of the house had worked together for six months on the package and in spite of her support and agreement the moment there was controversy she bailed and flip flopped. Don’t forget she did so from the safety of Saskatchewan.

That is not courage; that is being a coward.

Having to choose between first nations prosperity and the ALR, as in the case of what is occurring in Delta is not an easy decision, so guess what ? Carole James has no position.

Expanding the Port Mann is about as basic an issue as you will find, and yet in spite of almost two years; once again Carole James cannot make a decision.

Carole James track record of flip-flopping and avoiding tough decisions does nothing to suggest courage. Does she have the courage to dismiss Lali from her caucus for defying her and basically questioning her leadership ? The answer is no.

If that fits your definition of courageous leadership, so be it. At least Lali can take a stand on something; although he will likely fold on his stance as well. The NDP always do.

Just finished reading the morning paper and as predicted; Lali has flip-flopped and folded like the same cheap deck of cards his leader has been using.

So yesterday Lali claimed he could not be a hypocrite and that he had promised himself he would never again vote against the pay raise as he had done in 2005.

Today Lali sings yet another tune. What a sad and pathetic lot the NDP have become. I hope the Premier uses the same clause they used in Ontario where every NDP’er voted against the pay raise, but of course everyone of them signed on after the fact. At least for a day or so Lali looked like he was going to be upfront about his intentions.

Frankly, I find it appalling that Lali hasn't yet learned that some in the media will push and pull and encourage dumb people to prove themselves.

CHNL, which has been a temporary paying job to former Socred and now Liberal executive director Kelly Reichert between stints with governments in power, is no friend of the NDP.

It was the voice of Social Credit in the Kamloops region for years and now mouths the editorial line that the Liberals are faultless.

Someone should take Harry out for a walk in the sagebrushed hills around Merritt some day and explain to him that just because a reporter says something that makes you feel important, there is no need to believe it and there is even less need to respond to it.

Harry's worst friend is the nerve that connects his brain to his mouth. Unfortunately it appears to have got wrapped around his ego at birth.

I guess it's flip/flop time, and the biggest flipper/flopper of all is, of course, BC Liberal blogger Kevin Larsen. At first, he was 100% certain it was going to be Carole James who would change her mind, but when she held firm, now he's after Lali for shutting things down!

Poor Kevin, he placed the wrong be and doesn't have the courage to admit a simple mistake. It must be hard on the nerves to be that timid.

As for CHNL, that station has some good reporters. If their editorial policy is Socred/Coalition, so what? What media outlet doesn't take that line. Besides Reichert, this station was a long time home for Claude Richmond, a man whose degree of sucess in public life has always been a source of complete amazement to me.

Campbell's Liberals are getting raked over the coals for a dirty tricks operation operating out of the Premier's office, a Sol Gen alleged to have interfered in the BC Rail investigation, multiple conflicts for the Premier's good buddy and special advisor, laws apparently broken by said special advisor, other senior officials who push business to lobbyists, a 300 million dollar overrun on the convention centre.... And their salivating rush to endorse pay increases that range from 29 to 54%.

But in Kevin Larsen's mind Carole James and the NDP are pathetic. What drugs is he on? They can't be pleasant.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.