BC Railway Co. may have leased its tracks to Canadian National Railway Co. and ceased its freight operations. But, according to executive compensation figures released today by the Campbell administration, BC Railway's president and chief executive officer Kevin Mahoney - who manages a corporation that had revenues of $18.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2007 - is the fourth highest paid public sector employee, receiving $569,975 in salary and benefits. In an apparent attempt to justify that compensation package, a provincial government backgrounder compared his salary to Canadian Pacific Railway Co. president and chief executive officer Fred Green, who earns $2.9 million and manages a corporation that had revenues of $4.7 billion over the same time period.
Asked about the matter, Finance Minister Colin Hansen said, "BC Rail still has substantial operations and it is a very important Crown corporation for the province. They continue to own the assets of the rail and rail right-of-ways of British Columbia. And they also continue to own some very significant and strategic properties in the province - properties that are going to be critical to the economic development in this province and the Gateway Initiative. So I think we need to make sure that organization is very competently managed given the importance of that organization to the future of the province."
But aren't those rail assets now being managed by Canadian National? "BC Rail continues to actively manage very significant assets in the province - real estate assets that are very critical to our port initiative, our rail initiative and to economic development generally," Minister Hansen responded. Those unleased assets are valued at $60.8 million - including property under construction. By comparison, Canadian Pacific has $13.4 billion in assets.
Mr. Mahoney is just one of seven executives who were paid out more than $500,000 by taxpayers during the most recent fiscal year. And he's just one of 233 who were paid out more than $100,000.
"Quite frankly, I think when you start talking about incomes in excesses of $500,000 a year, I certainly don't relate to that," Minister Hansen commented. "I think the average British Columbians would find that is much higher than they would have expected. But I think when you compare our compensation for senior executives with other parts of Canada, we - in fact - are not the leaders. In fact, we're the middle of the pack when it comes to executive compensation based on the information we know from other jurisdictions."