The Liberals, apparently, want some attention

Today, provincial New Democrat leader Carole James announced that, if the Liberals succeed in pushing through the MLA compensation commission's controversial recommendations, her caucus won't be opting-out of the new pay-and-pension package. Instead, they'll "participate" in the pension plan while donating "back the pay increase...to charity, to community organizations that have been hurt by this government." Not exactly a proud moment for Ms. James, who maintains her party will vote against legislation acting on the commission's recommendations. But the Campbell administration - who have, on at least one occassion, appeared almost statesmen-like supporting the commission - seem to have forgetten the old adage that, if the opposition is falling, it's the government's duty to get out of the way (or something like that).

When Ms. James rose to debate the bill this afternoon, Liberal MLAs walked out of the legislature - leaving just two of their number inside. "They're running away again," charged Ms. James "They can't even face the leader making comments about the bill and the obscene pay increase. They can't even take listening to it. It just shows once again they don't listen to their communities. Their not interesting in listening. They just want to take their pay increase and run…It's appalling."

But the Liberals wouldn't say the insult was coordinated. Asked about the matter, Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell said Ms. James's speech simply "wasn't much to listen to, to be perfectly honest." Meanwhile, House Leader Mike de Jong insisted it, "isn't really a walk out. You look at what the position of the leader of the Opposition is - they're not opting-out. So what you're seeing there is a whole lot of smoke and mirrors and a whole lot of disingenuous commentary."

27 Comments

question is how long with these charitable contributions continue? One year and never mentioned again. And won't it be a great tax write off to effectively lower their income.

"And won't it be a great tax write off to effectively lower their income", offers belvedere.

So what. At least then the funds will be circulated back into the community through agencies that will spend it quick and keep it moving.

I think you'd find something to complain about belvedere if Carole James donated her entire salary to charity.

I think your real issue though, is that James appears to be staying a step ahead of the silly little dirty tricks Campbell is trying to play with the opt in or opt out rule he imposed.

That is very generous, I wonder what that will mean if they donate this money to "charitable" organazation that lobby them. This gesture is all very nice, temporary and let us not forget that they will recieve all of the other benifits, pension. This applies only to these individual MLA, not others in the future. Will they be prepared to be transparent and disclose who they are donating the dollars too.

Where does one begin ? The blatant hypocrisy of Carole James is mind numbing. To preach to the public like Carole James just did only to step up and personally take the pension after specifically saying just yesterday she would not.

The worst part is that thanks to the mess she made over her mishandling of the issue now everyone of her MLA’s gets to become the local Santa Claus at tax time. I wonder what will happen with all of their tax write offs, and will Carole James be calling for a full audit of the personal finances of every NDP MLA just to prove they didn’t pocket any of that pay raise ?

The fact that her MLA’s are comfortably led into becoming hypocrites who can now expect to be publicly audited by their local media for the rest of their elected lives about where those extra dollars are going will be fun for them.

I just can’t wait to hear all of the NDP apologists preach about the latest Carole James flip flop as being another great example of her “strong and decisive” leadership.

Budd Campbell…where are you Budd ?????

Let's see. According to Ipsos Reid, 68% oppose the money grubbing Liberal plan to raise their pay a minimum of 29% and a maximum of 54% (for the Premier - the guy who was against pay increases when he was in opposition).

The Liberals thumb their noses at that 68% and run out of the Leg with their pockets stuffed with cash.

Carole James and the NDP donate all their increase to charity. In the case of James that's a charitable donation of over $30, 000.

Hey Liberal apologists, when was the last time you gave your pay raise - and that kind of cash to charity?

And what are you going to say come two years? Yeah my guy Campbell pocketed the cash but that Carole James, get this: she donated hers to charity. How nasty is that?

It was a fantastic electoral strategy for McGuinty who lost a sure thing byelection on exactly this basis; with his Liberals hurling all the same crap at the NDP and the NDP winning a no hope riding after - let me get this right - donating their pay raise to charity.

One thing about that brainiac de Jong: When you steal a strategy from the east, shouldn't it be winning one?

I guess the'll have Dave Stupich arrange the deal with a charity, right?

Her caucus must hate her now. She has created a no-win situation with this donation scheme. NDP MLAs who do not donate the pay-raise to charities are painted as greedy by their own party. The MLAs who donate the cash aren't any better off politically or financially.

"I guess the'll have Dave Stupich arrange the deal with a charity, right?"

Nathan, that might be hard for the NDP to do, since Dave Stupich passed away in February 2006
after being in poor health.

Learn to do your homework.


I think the part that I find hard to digest is that my taxpayers money may be "donated" to charities that I do not believe in and would not spend my own money supporting . I'd rather they opt out and let the money stay in the public system and be used in healthcare or education where it is most needed..

I don't understand your position, Sean. Why don't you tell us what the NDP should have done, given all the various government manoeuvres involved. Same question to Kevin Larsen.

I am reminded of Mike Smyth's yahoo column in the Province yesterday accusing the NDP of hypocrisy. If the Govt passes a bill using their majority, that's it, the game is over. For members to accept the pay, but donate it to charity seems to me like the logical solution. What the Hell has Mike Smyth ever contributed to charity? The pension plan is another matter. But how do you donate that to charity?

What's needed is a commission that is truly independent, has a balanced composition, makes recommendations not only on MLA salaries but political appointees and senior bureaucrats as well, and which compares the pay not only to other parliamentary pay schedules around the country, but makes intelligent comparisons with other jobs in society that the general public can accept constitutes a reasonable standard.

Much of this is fundamentally difficult. I have heard some argue that the housing allowance is an intolerable grab since in no other job does the employer pay your rent in a new city past the first few weeks or months. I personally don't agree with that position, since even with four year terms this employment is fundamentally not permanent and members are informally at least, expected to maintain a home in their ridings. But it does point up the fact that there are basic problems in determining political pay that haven't been resolved by this recent commission or any other previous efforts.

But of course, that's not the game here. The game here is not a solution to a problem, it's instant punditry with James as the target.

"I don't understand your position, Sean. Why don't you tell us what the NDP should have done, given all the various government manoeuvres involved. Same question to Kevin Larsen."

The simple answer Budd is simple. Nothing. As in
don't take anything. They should have stuck to their position and didn't.

But the BC Liberals are also hypocrites as well

"I am reminded of Mike Smyth's yahoo column in the Province yesterday accusing the NDP of hypocrisy. If the Govt passes a bill using their majority, that's it, the game is over. For members to accept the pay, but donate it to charity seems to me like the logical solution. What the Hell has Mike Smyth ever contributed to charity? The pension plan is another matter. But how do you donate that to charity?"

Why would it be nessesary for Smyth to donate to charity since he is not the receipient of something he firstly did not agree to. The pension plan donation is quite simple. Take an equivalent amount contributed to the pension plan and donate that to charity or just don't accept the pension plan at all.

"What's needed is a commission that is truly independent, has a balanced composition, makes recommendations not only on MLA salaries but political appointees and senior bureaucrats as well, and which compares the pay not only to other parliamentary pay schedules around the country, but makes intelligent comparisons with other jobs in society that the general public can accept constitutes a reasonable standard."

What would that standard be? It would be based on apples to apples as in comparing what other provinces pay out. The BC Liberals did not insist
on it, and my guess is that Gordon Campbell is thinking in his mind "thank you. I got what I wanted".

"Much of this is fundamentally difficult. I have heard some argue that the housing allowance is an intolerable grab since in no other job does the employer pay your rent in a new city past the first few weeks or months. I personally don't agree with that position, since even with four year terms this employment is fundamentally not permanent and members are informally at least, expected to maintain a home in their ridings. But it does point up the fact that there are basic problems in determining political pay that haven't been resolved by this recent commission or any other previous efforts."

Agree there. They should have reduced the housing allowance by 29%.

"But of course, that's not the game here. The game here is not a solution to a problem, it's instant punditry with James as the target."

Budd, it was james that put the red and white circular cardboard with "Shoot me" written on it
on

What happens to the donated to charity tax receiptable deduction for a donation of $32,000 per year? Do the NDPers keep that or what?

Would the NDP then publicise that they are donating to charities but those evil awful BC Liberals are not?


The answer is simple Budd, all Carole James had to do was allow for a free vote. The public could still moan and groan to MLA’s exactly as they always will whenever there is a pay raise, but why make an already difficult issue stupid as Carole James has.

Even this crazy charity spin. Carole James could have simply said that some of her members would be donating part and in some cases even all of the raise to charity. That would have taken all of the public scrutiny away. But no, Carole James has to say every member, and every dime. Now her leadership will be on trial every year at tax time as local media will be looking to see that deal is upheld by all of her NDP’s. No to mention who they donate to will also be on trial.

Besides, the real problem for James is only Wednesday saying that she and her caucus would not accept the pay and pension and on Thursday when it is confirmed there is an opt out clause suddenly she flip flops and signs up instead of opting out as she said she would. What is worse for her is Michael Smyth will be laughing his head off; he called this on bang on.

Personally I think the longer we can keep Carole James around the better, but now I submit it is no longer a case of if the NDP will replace her, it is only a case of when. There are many different ways that Carole James could have played this and I submit that she could not have done it worse than she did, and now her caucus has to pay the price for that.

Let’s not forget about Lali either. He was right all along and is the only NDP’er who is not a blatant hypocrite today. He will be having the last laugh and I bet he will also be the first to break ranks on this charity spin show.

"I think the part that I find hard to digest is that my taxpayers money may be "donated" to charities that I do not believe in and would not spend my own money supporting . I'd rather they opt out and let the money stay in the public system and be used in healthcare or education where it is most needed.."

Well, Joe Taxpayer, join the club, more of my tax dollars are going to an organization I don't believe in -- the BC Liberals.

Somehow, I think we're getting the better deal from the NDP.

Not a proud day for anyone.

Dirty tricks (take the obscene increase or lose your pension and forgo any pay increase forever) made it very hard for anyone to stick to principle. But not impossible. And you need to have a lot more going for you to get by without your principles.

The election taunts are likely already in the vault: "Hypocrite NDPers voted against an increase and took it anyway." The NDP decision appears to reward the BC Liberals for their appalling handling of this issue--and rewarding such behaviour just encourages more of it.

And the bottom line won't change, charitable deeds notwithstanding. Students will go without special education supports, disabled adults will continue waiting for services, and single moms will struggle without childcare while millions more of our tax dollars walk out the door in Victoria.

I somewhat agree with Dawn Steele. I suppose I should also cut Carole James some slack. I suspect that she realized that there was no way in hell her entire caucus was going to opt out, so rather than being faced with the open defiance of her leadership; this was her only way out.

I do think it is time that she fire whoever has been advising her. She got absolutely crushed on this issue. The only way she could have possibly hoped to have won was to have her entire caucus opt out and no way was that going to happen. I wonder if she will re-instate Lali now that he has proven correct for calling her BS bluff on the opting out ?

Interesting that the likesd of Kevin Larsen are peeing themselves with happiness over this outrageous increase for the MLA's .Kind of shows where the Fiberal priorities lie.And he has the nerve to talk about NDP apologists.

I can't believe the media's treatment of this issue. And half the commenters here agree?

Carole James found a workable compromise given the ridiculous position the BC Lib grandstanding put her in. The governing party is the one abusing its position to ram through an obscene wage increase.

So the Libs are definitely doing something ugly and unpopular by taking our money. The NDP are equivocating and trying to find a workable solution. And it's the New Democrats who are painted as hypocrites or having been nailed on this issue?

James spoke out against an unreasonably large raise, was given an all-or-nothing ultimatum, and navigated a compromise. Campbell? Let's see - first there's the unrepresentative commission, then its excessive recommendations being forced through the Leg, then gleefully introducing penalty clauses. This is not good policy, it is political showboating.

I don't expect my MLAs to live like Gandhi. But I wish my Premier would stop the Marie Antoinette act.

"Dirty tricks (take the obscene increase or lose your pension and forgo any pay increase forever) made it very hard for anyone to stick to principle"

It shouldn't be hard to stick to "principle" values if they are in fact "principle" values and not disingenuous fronts.


"Carole James found a workable compromise given the ridiculous position the BC Lib grandstanding put her in."

Actually it was the NDP grandstanding both during the first time they tried for the more reasonable 15% increase and after the independent report was released that got her to this point.

"The NDP are equivocating and trying to find a workable solution. And it's the New Democrats who are painted as hypocrites or having been nailed on this issue?"

Since they voted against the wage and pension increase and spoke adamantly against it, but accepted it, when they could have easily refused it, they're hypocrites.

"James spoke out against an unreasonably large raise, was given an all-or-nothing ultimatum, and navigated a compromise."

The last time they tried to negotiate on this issue James stabbed Campbell in the back at the first sign of public pressure. Why would he throw her a bone now? Just so she could flip on him at the 12th hour again to score some political points.

It boils down to this: No one is coming out of this smelling like roses , but the Liberals are stinking a lot worse.

carole james is finished,
so,call up rob fleming, clean the baby shit off his hands and clean this mess up,
as for carole ,when you get into the rumble you must bring it ,,not sing it,,,,
glenn

The answer is simple Budd, all Carole James had to do was allow for a free vote.

So says Kevin Larsen. The assertion is obviously false. If James allowed a free vote she would be accused of being weak. If she tries to impose a position, and some like Lali rock the boat, ... she's accused of being weak.

The problem here is leadership. It's inadequately trained followers.

It's the Liberals who have that brown stuff all over their faces thanks to Jame's simple sidestep around Campbell's obvious, but clumsy beartrap.

It's the NDP many on this thread are angry at because they have deftly left the Liberals holding all the blame for this raid on the treasury.

The public isn't going balistic over a repaired pension plan but rather the excessive 29 percent cash grab only the Liberals are pocketing.

James and company will give away their raises, which Campbell's rules forced them to accept if they wanted the pension change.

That means hundreds of thousands of BC tax dollars annually finally getting to non-profits after years of cuts and excuses from the 29%ers.

Which of those issues is Joe Public most likely to appreciate?

no surprise that the liberals want this huge windfall. If I was in their shoes, I probably would do the same thing. Afterall, its the taxpayers who are footing the bill. As an MLA, why would I care if the taxpayer will be paying my luxurious pension plan!

While I have emailed every single MLA daily this week, I am sure they have not read them, and if they did, threw it immediately into the trash bin. It is a sad day when MLA's talk the talk, like Campbell did in 1996 when he said,

“This bill challenges all MLAs in this house to cut the strings of their million-dollar pensions and to accept the same standards that other British Columbians have to accept in their lives,” Campbell told the house on July 5, 1995. “In order for us to change the public image of MLAs as self-serving, it’s going to require MLAs to stop being self-serving.

Continued the non-self-serving Campbell: “We cannot ask others to tighten their belts if we’re not willing to tighten our own.”

but when it comes down to actually walking the talk, their greed prevails at the end of the day.

There should be a commission of the way the media
manipulate the news. The Liberal (conservative)dirty trickers give their gang leader a 54% pay-off for being so good at ripping off the poor, selling off B.C. to his friends and out right lieing to the public.
Not one Liberal MLA will represent the people
who voted for them because their GODo will speak
for them. How can Liberal MLA's be so gutless?

And what is the story the media manipulate to
the public?

The bad NDPers are giving their pay raise to
charity.

The press and any student reporter should be
putting a mike in the face of each and every
liberal MLA and getting a reason why they should
get a big pay raise while not supporting funding
for sexual abuse treatment in Victoria?

And if they wouldn't give you a reason, the real
story is why the liberal (conservative)MLAs are allowing their free speech to be supressed by the same people who allowed Basi and Virk to do dirty tricks on behaft on the liberal party.

Where is a good reporter when the public need one.
Why do reporters go along with the manipulation.
Maybe reporters should get a big pay raise for NOT
doing their job look the Liberal(conservative).
MLA's are getting.

Nothing is forever.

James and the opposition caucus should have opted out, called the Liberals high-stakes gamble and defied the Media not to make it an issue every day from now till 2009.

As the Olympics continue to go seriously over budget and the Convention centre costs exceed a billion dollars - even Carole Taylor - who'll be the Premier before 2007 is over - couldn't sell that deal to the vast majority of BC voters.

Take the government in 09 and replace Bill 37 with a proper salaries bill and a decent - but not golden pension.

You have to believe in yourself and your principles enough to actually risk them.

Campbell risks nothing for the reciprocal of that reason.

Sorry Carole - big big mistake - and don't pretend you weren't told.

I wonder what that will mean if they donate this money to "charitable" organazation that lobby them. Posted by Angelle Desrochers on May 17, 2007 06:06 PM
--------------------------------
Ms.James has mentioned a association in her riding that supports sexually abused children as a recipient, of her pay raise. I doubt those kids have been lobbying her. So what is Gordon and his merry band of cutters doing to help their constituents? let's put all this in persepctive.

Nobody complains about the Liberals cooking up a deal, voting for it and making a lot of bucks, while the opposition are an awful bunch for giving some of their lolly away. I don't like to see the opposition getting cornered by the Liberals any more than most, but lets spread the sarcasm around. It's tough to turn down over 20,000 a year. I get a lot less than that for 35 years federal service as my pension.

Election time is coming, lets see who survives that day.

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