The high cost of deputy minister living

Amidst a backdrop of service cutbacks, Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak refused to say whether her deputy minister Lesley du Toit is still receiving a $2,000 a month living allowance. Public Eye first reported on that allowance back in 2007. So last night, on Voice of BC, we asked whether that perk was still in place, given the government recent decision to, for example, trim $7.4 million from the budget for contracted social service agencies. The response: "Well, I'm not going to comment on her employment contract. That's something that people negotiate in good faith, and that's really her business."

"I do think it's important for the public to know what kind of a person this is that was recruited to government," she continued. "This is a woman who is not just a bureaucrat. She is an incredible practitioner. She was brought to British Columbia after having done a tremendous amount of work in South Africa - hand-picked by Nelson Mandela to remake their child protection service after what I'm sure anyone can imagine was just absolute devastation, under apartheid. She's internationally renowned, and we are very fortunate to have her."

"Truly, when you look at people of Lesley's calibre, there is no doubt in my mind that she could be doing herself far better financially if she was working in the private sector - but she believes in B.C.'s kids."

4 Comments

"she believes in BC kids"

As opposed to not believing in them? I'll take it that she is still getting the $2,000 a month top-up.

Lesley Du Toit has been a pox upon BC's kids for the many years she's been taking money from this government to "change practice." Like she even knows what good practice is.

Minister Polak should do her homework instead of just spouting what she's been told. There isn't a competent ethical professional in the world that would hide away in the shadows from the media and public scrutiny and accountability the way she has. She won't even meet with the Representative and that has to say something.

MCFD is one hundred times worse in meeting it's basic mandate (to protect children) and as an organization to work for (look at their attrition numbers, this is no accident) and her sophistry will be exposed for the BS it is when she is gone.

This whole nonsense about so-called "practice change" is smoke and mirrors. There is not one new thing and much of it is re-packaging practice that social workers have been doing forever, which is an insult and has cost the taxpayers of BC millions for nothing.

What does make Du Toit unique is that she is the only Deputy Minister in government who has taken $2000 per month on top of her salary while for 6 years in a row children in BC have lived in abject poverty, have become homeless, and been unsafe. Du Toit's actions speak louder than words about where her priorities stand.

Since Polak thinks Du Toit would make more in the private sector, I think we should give that a go, because I don't think BC's kids and families can afford "people of Lesley's calibre" anymore.

And she cares about those kids so much, that she'd rather see that money in her own pocket, than going towards the benefit of the children she's supposed to be protecting!?

I don't like it much when people rely on their credentials, and the name-dropping of a true hero like Nelson Mandela to hold up their reputations. Can we please have a more recent example of what she's done to protect children in BC?

...

Anything?

...I didn't think so.

I'm not sure what happened to my original comment from a couple of days ago on this item, but we'll try again.

I assume that this woman is getting a substantial salary to do this job. Why does she also warrant a $2000/month living allowance. This allowance is 50% more than a person can make while working full time at the current minimum wage in BC. There is something very wrong with this picture.

When the MLAs voted themselves their new and improved pay packages complete with a gold-plated pension we were told that this would insure that we would get the best and the brightest. I just wonder what it will cost the taxpayers to get politicians that have some modicum of logic and basic common sense.

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