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

Port Hardy Reigns compete in Nanaimo at Island Championships

“We are very fortunate to have this opportunity for our youth in Port Hardy”

Derina Harvey Band – Heartfelt, Energetic, Celtic rock comes to Port Hardy

Front-woman Derina Harvey leads this Celtic-rock act, who offer an authentic east-coast experience.

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read