Message from Carole James

Yesterday, I held a news conference to talk about Gordon Campbell's latest pay hike. British Columbians already have a lot of good reasons to believe that Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals are completely out of touch:

FACT: They dismiss concerns and questions about $400 million in cost overruns at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

FACT: One in four BC children lives in poverty, the worst rate in Canada, but the Liberals are still doing nothing.

FACT: Health care wait lists are getting worse and they are ignoring the problems in our schools.

FACT: They claim to be environmental leaders while calling for offshore oil drilling, giving private companies control over sensitive rivers and watersheds, and giving oil and gas corporations over $200 million subsidies in every year.

FACT: Their gas tax hits ordinary families hard while letting big polluters off the hook.

But the latest example of Gordon Campbell's disdain for the public is just stunning. Two years ago, Gordon Campbell gave his top advisors a massive pay hike. He promised no more increases for four years. Last week, on the opening day of the Olympics, Gordon Campbell quietly announced he would break that promise and give his top advisors pay hikes ranging from 22 to 43 percent. Starting now, he'll be giving his Deputy Minister alone another $105,000.

That money is your money. It's the public that pays these salaries. But his disregard for the public is apparently so complete he chose to make this announcement while he was far away, in China, and safe from tough questions. I think he's being incredibly arrogant. I believe these pay raises are completely unacceptable, especially considering that Gordon Campbell has refused to raise the minimum wage for 7 years.

In just nine months, the provincial election will finally give ordinary people in British Columbia a chance to tell Gordon Campbell they've had enough of unaccountable and arrogant government. But people earning minimum wage need help now. There's over 250,000 people in BC earning less than $10 an hour, and Gordon Campbell's made life even harder by raising heating costs, transit fares, gas costs, ferry fare and more. Here's a dose of perspective: there are over a hundred thousand British Columbians earning the $8 minimum wage and it would take one of them 21 years to earn with Campbell's Deputy Minister earns in just one year.

Campbell thinks you're too busy watching the Olympics to notice or care that he's using public money to help his top advisors. Don't let him get away with it. Help me award him the gold medal for arrogance.


Carole James, Leader, BC New Democrats

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