BC Liberals vow to ensure fair BCGEU deal; slam NDP broken promise on ferry fares

Andrew Wilkinson

RESPONDING to the BC government’s tentative contract agreement with public sector employees, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson on Wednesday vowed to ensure the deal is not a pay-off to BC NDP supporters.
“Our fine public servants deserve to share in a prosperous provincial economy, but when it comes to the BCGEU, an organization that has donated $2,715,433 to the NDP since 2005, added scrutiny is key to ensuring a fair deal for everyone,” said Wilkinson. “It’s no surprise the NDP has been able to come to terms with one of their biggest political supporters, and the public deserves to know where their money is going and why.”
He noted that the BC Liberal government implemented bonuses that resulted from economic growth. However, Wednesday’s announcement came with no such incentives related to growth and very few details altogether aside from guaranteed wage increases each year of the agreement.
“The BC NDP have so far shown themselves to be good at raising taxes and spending your money – while attacking small businesses with payroll and other taxes to job creators,” said Wilkinson.
“This government continues to create tax policy on the fly. They’re making changes that impact the revenue projections their own budget is based on. It’s something all British Columbians should be concerned about,” added MLA Shirley Bond, Finance Critic. “Job growth is stagnating and the economy looks to be slowing down. Time will tell if this deal will need to be paid for with more hefty tax increases.”

Last month British Columbia lost 16,000 full time jobs and job growth year over year was stagnant.

Meanwhile,¬†Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell criticized Transportation Minister Claire Trevena’s handling of BC Ferries following the announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy rebates from fares.
“The NDP campaigned on a fare freeze but have instead enabled a sudden increase,” said Stilwell. “It was only a few months ago that they promised a hydro rate freeze. They keep promising affordability but consistently fail to follow through.”
In May, Transportation Minister Trevena sent a stunning letter to BC Ferries board chairman Donald Hayes saying she was “surprised and disappointed” to hear they would be removing fuel rebates of 2.9 per cent on major and minor routes and 1.9 per cent on Northern routes.
BC Ferries President Mark Collins quickly pointed out that the BC government has known about plans to cut the fuel rebate since November.
“I fail to see how the Minister could claim to be surprised when her staff has been in the loop for over half a year,” added Stilwell. “She knew this was coming, and failed to act to ensure that fares would be frozen for passengers as per her promise.”
BC Ferries cancels the fuel rebates on June 27.