On Friday, Premier Gordon Campbell returns from the Beijing Olympics ..and the media will no doubt have questions for him about the salary increases recently granted to B.C.’s 100 top government servants.
But let’s hope they do not miss the really key questions Campbell deserves to be hammered on: that I believe show his government’s total disrespect for the people of B.C.
Sure, there will be the standard queries about why the the raises of 22 to 43 per cent were handed out. And Campbell will be ready for that … reciting pat answers about the need to remain competitive with the private sector, and the need to attract/keep top people etc.
And most B.C. reporters will go away happy with their clip … file a story and head off to start their weekend. Story done.
Because the real stink from these raises goes beyond the fact that the top deputy minister’s salary could now top $348,000. (By the way the Prime Minister’s salary/indemnity is only $310,800 .. . now LESS than a potential B.C. deputy minister!!!)
What Campbell really has to be pressed on is the smell emanating from the WAY this announcement was handled.
I understand the actual decision to grant these huge increases was actually made in July. They went INTO EFFECT Aug. 1. BUT the government waited to make the salary increases public until Friday, Aug 8 … the day of the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, when Campbell would be out of the country …. and almost everyone’s attention would be focussed overseas.
The Premier needs to answer for THIS! This is almost worse than the unjustifiable salary boosts themselves.
Does he have so little respect for the people of the province to make the announcement this way and at that time?
Did he do it to deliberately try to slip under the radar? (I’d love to see him look into the cameras, right at the people of B.C., and deny it.)
Why didn’t he face the media and the people of the province directly when the decision was made?
What does the way it was all handled say about Campbell’s real opinion of the naievety and stupidity of B.C. voters? Especially when it’s THEIR money he is spending.
And the intrepid reporter who asks these questions should not be satisified with some sort of quick soppy clip: I believe the way this was all done shows such a disdain for the people of the province, the Premier should be pushed on this very hard.
p.s. If you want more details on these increases and some really interesting comparisons, I would recommend Bill Tieleman’s piece Tuesday in 24 Hours http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/Columnists/home.html