LETTER: Re: Is CUPE running your city hall? B.C. Views (Oct. 1)

Re: Is CUPE running your city hall? B.C. Views (Oct. 1)

Re: Is CUPE running your city hall? B.C. Views (Oct. 1)

Recently you ran a column by Tom Fletcher suggesting that the Canadian Union of Public Employees was running city halls in British Columbia.

Mr. Fletcher’s column was based on a shoddy report done by the provincial government about pay for municipal employees. Both Mr. Fletcher’s column and the provincial report shared something in common.

Despite the fact the report focused on local governments, neither Mr. Fletcher nor the authors of the report bothered to talk to local government representatives.

And this is not surprising, because Mr. Fletcher and others are dealing with a solution in search of a problem. The solution is to force a provincial-government controlled bargaining model on locally elected city councils. The problem: that’s what Mr. Fletcher and others are working on creating.

If Mr. Fletcher had spoken to Rona Martin, president of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), or even read the UBCM statement, he would have found that the provincial report acknowledges 26 times there are limitations in the data to support analyses of municipal pay. The report goes on to reach grand conclusions anyway. Ms. Martin also notes that compensation for police and fire fighters, and even BC Ferries and TransLink, is lumped in – even though local governments have no control over compensation for these groups.

Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray echoed the UBCM concerns and noted flawed data from what he called “some taxpayer groups” like the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

It is true that the cost of local government has gone up. Andy Shadrack, a Director for the Regional District of Central Kootenay, said that he had spent the last nine years “trying to prevent provincial and federal governments from implementing more and more expensive regulations, rules and required services for local government to provide.”

The bill for this downloading of costs by senior government onto local governments has been huge, according to a recent report from the B.C.-based Columbia Institute.

Between 2001 and 2010, local spending on sewer services went up by 173 per cent, on policing by 134 per cent, and on water services by 130 per cent.

These increases were driven in part either by provincial or federal regulations or provincial control.

Finally, let’s look at Mr. Fletcher’s key target – CUPE’s wage settlements – the only actual cost he identifies. Over the last decade, CUPE’s wage settlements with local governments have tended to mirror settlements negotiated in the private sector.

If you check with BC’s statistics agency, you will find both CUPE and private sector agreements have been lower than the growth in the province’s wealth (the provincial Gross Domestic Product) and lower than the increase in average weekly wages for the province as a whole.

As Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan put it: “I’ll put the fiscal responsibility of our cities against the provincial government any day of the week.”

It would have been helpful if the authors of the provincial government report had actually talked to local governments and examined any of these issues.

As a journalist, it would have been responsible for Mr. Fletcher to do the same. Instead, his column serves as a free plug for the Christy Clark government’s ham-fisted solution in search of a non-existent problem.

Mark Hancock,CUPE BC President

 

Just Posted

Colwood’s Hatley Castle makes top 10 list of movie locations to travel to

X-Men, Deadpool among movies filmed at Hatley Castle

Relative of man found dead in Saanich says he was missing for years

RCMP and a private detective had been searching for him since 2012

UPDATED: Oak Bay father takes stand, denies killing young daughters

Andrew Berry has plead not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Saanich Police warn of counterfeit money being used

Several fake $100 bills have been reported in Greater Victoria

Man who killed Langford teen attended her memorial service, demonstrates little remorse

Parole Board of Canada documents reveal factors in parole decision

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Most Read