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ROBBINS on MLA pay raises-an Ode to Premier James
  May 03, 2007

An independent review has determined some hefty pay raises for politicians in BC. ROBBINS agrees that MLA’s should be paid more. To us this isn’t about attracting better people although it seems to be the rationale for most who favour the raises.
The added remuneration is important in the sense that the public perception (after pay raises) will be that the politicians will operate to a higher standard because the expectations will be much higher. Considering Olympics etc., it is important that all standards be raised in the province. If you want to be big league, you need to act big league. This is a different approach altogether.
Currently, the quality of politicians provincially is not big league. It is semi-pro. More than anyone else, the premier himself is semi-pro. He dresses and appears big league, but his decision-making in our opinion reflects a much lower standard. The Premier did not get elected because he was so highly thought of; he got elected because the NDP were poorly thought of. He got re-elected by the skin of his teeth, when a more competent leader, better thought of, would have been more successful.
The public is howling about wages because generally speaking they aren’t crazy about the BC Liberals or the Opposition.
Carole James is against the recommendations and pay raise, Campbell is for it. We have seen this movie before, and it isn’t any better the second time around.
Vaughn Palmer, one of the better journalists in the country, (let alone the province) has mused in his column in the Vancouver Sun that Gordon Campbell is likely to ‘shake out’ NDP MLA’s by including a provision in the legislation that would essentially compel New Democrats to refuse their raise, or give it to charity etc. Predictably, Campbell is playing to his ruddy-faced support ‘core’ that hate all unions, think the NDP are communists and generally speaking (as people) lack empathy (neo sociopath).
What Ms. James ought to do is take the (very) public position that she will support the raises (not the pensions), does not believe that the raises should be retroactive, and that the recommendations should be implemented post the next fixed election, something which three quarters of the population will accept.
By doing so, Ms. James will make the Premier appear to be a bad Daddy Warbucks imitation, who could care less about the public, simply because he is yet another elected chump who once in power, does whatever the hell he wants, and controls his caucus as if they were dogs in search of a bone, rather than individual MLA’s representing their constituents in a democratic society.
Premier James needs to whip her caucus to understand that in no uncertain terms they are to waver, AND to ensure that her message to the public is clear. “Yes we deserve more money but not until there is an election”. The message here is that at least she and her party are willing to do the hard work before a reward is taken, even if that ‘reward’ is fair compensation right now. If the arrangement configured by Campbell is too difficult to deal with, when the legislation comes up, the NDP should take a protest day reminding the public of an entire legislative sitting the BC Liberals 'took off' last fall.
After all this is politics.
Glen P. Robbins (604) 942-3757 -30-

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