Friday, November 18, 2005

Sitting at the Trough

In a stunning moment of political smarts, both the ruling Liberals (here in BC more the equivalent of the Conservatives) and the opposition NDP voted to give themselves a 15% pay raise. Even better, they decided to do this on the sly, backroom deals and all in silence, rather than, say, using the legislative process to do the job. Oh, the legislature did get involved, when the deal was announced and every single MLA stood up to vote in favour. A good analysis is here, but no permalink is available, so look for the November 18 entry titled "MLA Oink, Oink!"

But now the NDP, apparently remembering that one of the jobs of the opposition party is to sometimes, you know, oppose what the government tries to pull, have decided to withdraw their support for this bill. They're still keen to get their hands on all that extra money, of course, but leader Carole James has admitted that she has concerns about the process. Even though she thinks the money is deserved.

I'm curious about who arrives at these numbers, especially just after forcing the teachers back to work with a zero (0)% increase, and with the nurses' contract expiring next March. Did the government and the opposition really think that this sort of thing is going to slip through without anyone noticing?

You know, even though Victoria is an expensive city, I'd be embarassed to be making the same sort of money. Wait, that's not true. Rather, I'd be embarassed to be making that sort of money (and remember, I'm including the exorbitant pensions here, where a good number of MLAs are already guaranteed a million dollars or more after they turn 55) in a situation where I voted to award it to myself.

That last part is key, and it's something politicians the world over seem to never understand. Yeah, maybe you work hard for the coin you make, and maybe you had to give up all those lucrative private sector dollars (because, my goodness, coming into this whole public service thing with open eyes just won't do, will it?), but as a politician whose job rests on dopey citizens like me not remembering all these stupid transgressions, you should maybe try and find a more open, democratic way to decide whether or not you make enough money.

Me, I'm unlikely to forget. And if I'm still in this frozen wasteland next election, I'm going to make damn sure everyone I know remembers as well.

Good for you. The Premier's speech about how the politicians are dedicated, their families suffer, they put in extra hours, blah blah blah, made me SICK. Not because I don't believe they do those things. I believe some work very hard. However, our teachers & medical stuff have just as an important role in this society, yet they are put off again and again. The sneaky way in which this raise for themselves came about was just wrong, and someone needs to be fired from their position. All of them if need be.
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