Government rope-a-dope

Political gamesmanship on show at Union of BC Municipalities conference.

When it comes to making an elusive target, you’ve got to hand it to the B.C. provincial government.

Last week’s annual Union of BC Municipalities conferences in Whistler provided local government representatives a chance to network and craft resolutions which may then be lobbied to provincial and federal authorities.

But Premier Christy Clark and several of her ministers proved adept at dodging both punches and accountability while coming out swinging with their own time at the podium.

When presented with a surprise UBCM-commissioned study that indicated the series of ferry rate increases had cost the province millions in lost revenue in the last decade, Transportation Minister Todd Stone casually dismissed it as unsubstantiated and “irresponsible”.

And when faced with a call to roll back rate increases and service cuts — never mind funding coastal ferries as part of the highway system — he came back with a “solution” of coastal communities begging the federal government to release its gas tax refunds for use in paying for ferries. Of course, those funds are currently used to help municipalities restore or replace crumbling infrastructure, money unlikely to be replaced from the province’s apparently hollow coffers.

Speaking of irresponsible reports, Clark then dropped her own haymaker on the municipal lawmakers, a provincial report showing unionized municipal employees have received pay raises far in excess of those given to their provincial counterparts.

Regardless of the veracity of the report, leaking it at this time, in this venue, was a cynical political ploy. It was designed to put the audience on notice that the government, having quelled those pesky teachers for the next five years, will gleefully poke its union-bashing stick into the spokes of this fall’s municipal elections.

At this stage, it seems a solution in search of a problem. What many UBCM attendees really wanted was action on funding coastal ferries as part of the highway system and more say in pipeline construction and tanker traffic through their yards.

What we didn’t hear was delegates bemoaning the pay rates of their municipal employees.

 

Just Posted

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Rainy days

“Forest photography is perfect on rainy days”

Raz: Creating his own Chemainus in the North Island Part 3

Mehran ‘Raz’ Razmpoosh has put the finishing touches on a brand new… Continue reading

Business for Sea Otter Eco Tours tripled in 2019

The Eco Tours season runs from May 1 to Oct. 1.

Community volleyball at PHSS

The program was formed for the community and in the hopes of getting youth off of the street.

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

RCMP members search shore along Stories Beach near Campbell River

Ground search not thought to be related to Oct. 16 homicide: RCMP

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Most Read