Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Cabinet shuffle, point one: Say you'll run again, and get extra pay

I make it 29 Liberal MLAs who have yet said they will not be running next year. The cabinet shuffle left only two without posts of some kind - Randy Hawes and Colin Hansen. You can now count them as retiring.
That means every one of the 27 Liberal MLAs who intend to run again got a position of some kind. (Which brings to mind this week's Time Colonist editorial on the MLAs' club.)
It's a pricey approach by Premier Christy Clark. She gets an extra $92,000 a year as premier, on top of MLAs' $102,000 base pay.
Sixteen full cabinet ministers will get an extra $51,000 a year each. Two junior ministers will get an extra $36,000 each. And nine parliamentary secretaries - sort of helpers to cabinet ministers in specific areas -  will get $15,000 each.
All in, the extra pay amounts to $1,115,000 on annual basis (though the election is next May, so they won't have the jobs for a full year).
The average extra salary for the 27 MLAs expected to run again is $41,300 - about $3,000 less then the average wage in the province.

Correction: Sorry, I forgot Liberal MLA John Slater (Boundary-Simalkameen) who is also left out of the money list and has not yet said he won't be running.

1 comment:

scotty on Denman said...

Yes, state your loyalty to Christy and you get a plum. For some BC Liberal MLAs it matters more than for others. Rookie MLAs, of which there are about 20, must look longingly at those big fat cabinet minister paycheques; I'll bet they look even more covetously at the generous pensions for which they themselves, having only served four years by next spring's election, are not yet eligible. Given the almost certain shellacking the BC Liberals are going to get, many of these rookies must be wondering if they'll survive long enough to collect a parliamentary pension. Perhaps that crestfallen feeling of being left out of cabinet selection might sharpen thoughts about surviving the next election and of winning the required incumbency for a pension under a more popular banner. The BC Libs are flying so low and the BC Cons are so reluctant to adopt too many refugees from the most reviled party in BC history that the only choice for BC Liberal rookies to distance themselves from the sinking scow is to run as Independents. The government is only a handful of seats away from losing their majority. Mid November is the date after which resignations will not precipitate by-elections before the fixed-election date but, given career insecurity among backbench rookie BC Liberal MLAs, one has to wonder whether a few of them, possibly in addition to resignations, might cross the floor to another party (if there be any that would accept them) or to Independency, either way precipitating an early election by way of a loss of parliamentary confidence in the current government. Independency is usually a poor prospect for successful incumbency but, considering the depth of BC Liberal unpopularity and the wide condemnation of Christy's broken early election promise, it might not be, in the circumstance, such a risky gambit. It all depends how much you have to lose. And rookies passed over for a cabinet post at this late date might reckon their chances are better if they don't run as BC Liberals.