Premier must answer serious questions about growing pay raise scandal

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VICTORIA — Big raises for executives at the Provincial Health Services Authority are just the latest evidence that Premier Clark and the Liberals are not serious about reining in the high rollers in government while they cut programs and services for British Columbians.

“The premier set the tone for big pay raises for government executives when she decided to pad the pay of partisan loyalists right after the election,” said New Democrat finance critic Mike Farnworth.

“Now that we have learned about the pay raises at the Provincial Health Services Authority the public must be wondering which other senior managers and staffers have received massive pay increases while the Liberals have been cutting services for British Columbians.”

New Democrat health critic Judy Darcy noted that there seems to be one set of rules for the premier and one for everyone else.

“Not only did the Premier sign off on big post-election raises for political staffers, even after she got caught she still insisted that her deputy chief of staff gets to keep her $30,000 pay hike,” said Darcy. “At a time when we have health authorities implementing new charges for seniors to use wheelchairs and cutting front line services like outreach workers who support people with mental illnesses and addictions, how can the premier justify maintaining this pay hike?”

In a classic example of “B.C. Liberal openness and transparency” the information about the PHSA pay hikes was released late on Friday afternoon.

“The premier needs to provide the public a full accounting of which executives got raises, and how much they received, which other public agencies are breaking the government wage freeze policy, and how the government will ensure the increases are rolled back,” said Darcy.

“Half of British Columbians, many of them working two jobs, make less than the pay raise given to the Premier’s deputy chief of staff. They are the ones who are footing the bill for these outrageous pay increases,” said Farnworth. “The Premier needs do the right thing and roll back all the wage increases, including those in her office.”

The B.C. Liberal government campaigned on dubious promises of eliminating debt, a balanced budget, and retaining critical services. B.C.’s New Democrats will hold the government to account for these promises, and fight to protect the services that British Columbians depend on.