EDITORIAL: Pay increases hard to justify

NANAIMO – Provincial money not available for teachers or nurses, but senior political staff in government get a raise.

“Don’t do as we do, do as we say.”

That’s the message the B.C. Liberals are sending to all residents of the province following the announcement that salaries for senior political staff in government ministries and Premier Christy Clark’s office are not just going up, but going up an obscene amount.

B.C. Cabinet orders dated earlier this month provide for an 18-per cent wage increase for Dan Doyle, Clark’s chief of staff, to a maximum salary of $230,000.

This from a premier who campaigned on fiscal responsibility to help families and gain some ground on an out-of-control deficit.

This from a government that has continually told teachers, educational support staff, nurses and others in the health-care industry to tighten their belts because there is nothing in the kitty for wage increases.

Most in the private sector have already tightened their belts to the max, not seeing any wage relief in years. Add to that the burden of increased taxes, a jump in utility rates and the rising cost of day-to-day living, and residents of B.C. are wondering how they’re going to get by.

That’s when citizens need to have faith in government – all levels of government – to come to the rescue and pull the country, province or city out of trouble.

But it’s getting harder to have faith in government officials.

Whether it’s senators in Ottawa charging thousands of dollars in outlandish expenses from the public’s purse, or government officials in Victoria receiving unfathomable pay increases, it’s no wonder residents are so apathetic when it comes to voting in a leader.

Who can you trust?

Voters sent the B.C. Liberals back to Victoria with a majority government, and a mandate to set the province on the road to economic recovery.

Helping themselves before helping the many in the province who are suffering is not what the people had in mind.