Woulda, coulda, shoulda

If the provincial New Democrats lose the election, May 18, 2007 might be the date they lost it. That's when party leader Carole James announced her caucus would be voting against a controversial MLA compensation package - but opting-in to its "gold-plated" pension plan. At least that's how a mechanic from Vernon described it on Sunday evening's debate, when he asked Ms. James and Liberal leader Gordon Campbell, "Why did politicians support a two percent wage increase for the workers" while giving themselves a bigger piece of the taxpayer pie.

In fairness, the New Democrats have been donating the raise they received as part of that package to charity. But the fact they're benefiting from its pension plan makes it almost impossible for Opposition members to criticize the Liberals for passing the legislation which made that plan possible. And - at a time of economic turmoil - such criticism could have been a ballot box winner for the New Democrats.

After all, the compensation package puts politicians "in the same league as the executives at the big banks at the U.S. with their huge bonuses as the company is sliding in the toilet." If only the New Democrats had been able to foresee it.

5 Comments

The NDP have perfected the knack of hoisting themselves on their own pedard. As you rightly observe, Sean, the New Democrats must be kicking themselves that they can't attack the Liberals for the payraise/pension plan. Such attacks would be toxic for the Liberals.

But, once again, the NDP are paying the price of their own opportunism. Despite the big public show of donating their pay raises to charities, they couldn't resist getting their hands on the "gold-plated" pension plan.

By the way, has anyone been checking with NDP incumbents if they made good on their promise to donate the pay raise? If they did, did they do so for the first year of the pay raise only?

To clarify about the NDP's selfless act of donating their pay raise to charity, I had a couple of questions. First, if you get a $100 raise and donate it to charity, don't you get a refundable tax credit of up to one-third of the amount donated for cash donations and up to 100 per cent tax credit for donating specific property? Wouldn't that mean the NDP MLAs are taking 100 per cent of the pay raise while hypocritically trying to stake out the moral high ground? Secondly, I know at least one MLA, Yale-Lillooet MLA Harry Lali, who spoke out publicly in opposition to his leader on the policy of donating his pay raise. I'd like to know if Harry Lali donated his pay raise (or, as Gordon McLeod also asked, if it was just the first year only). How many NDP'ers donated their raise while the spotlight was on and then started spending their newfound wealth the moment the spotlight was turned off?
I think you let the NDP off easy on the whole pay raise issue.

spv29 you're absolutely correct. They have been let off easily.

The NDP are consistently making piss poor decisions. Soooo disappointing!

They rightfully went after the BC Gov 43% increases, yet never (that I know of) advertised their victory, nor did they shed any light on whether or not the maximum salary levels remained at the new higher amount regardless of whether or not a raise was awarded. What that means is that the salaries for these GROSSLY OVERPAID administrators could very well reach the new maximum amounts either through awarding that salary to new hires or over a period of time.

Why the NDP signed up for the BIG FAT GOLDEN pensions is beyond me. Don't they want to get elected? How stupid do they think the public is? The only thing worse than a thief is a thief who professes to be innocent. Not to mention the tax write offs for the 'donations'.

Such stupidity. Is their public relations person being paid by the liberals?

Even worse is the BC NDP web site. What a load of nothing. No substance, no data, no facts... nothing. Just a lot of fluff. I went there hoping to see an accounting of what they had done since the last election and found... nothing.

I don't see how I have any choice but to vote green this year and I'm really angry about that.

PR disaster for the NDP? - yes.

Moral highground lowered? - certainly.

But, regarding all the venom voiced in the comments above....whose legislation was it, exactly?


.

I recall the issue at the time was more complicated. The choices around the pension were to take the increase or opt out of the plan altogether.

The salary increase offer was easier to understand but still meant either the increase or none at all.

I'm not saying that the increases were fair, just that the choices were setup to 'punish' the NDP no matter what decision they made.

The 'venomous' comments from previous posters only indicates the current fears of Liberals as they slowly accept they will be forming the official opposition in a week!!

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