Letters: Gravy train meets pork barrel

Government spending comes under the gaze of letter writer

Mar. 12 SNM had two pieces that stood out on the same page.

“The slow erosion of democracy” and “Elected officials voting themselves pay raises,” as an editorial next to Tom Fletcher’s predictable take “Forget the issues, pass the muffins” which seeks to trivialize public concerns about government spending on friends and insiders.

Fletcher poo-poohs concerns about pork barreling by trivializing and avoiding any meaningful dialogue on the issue. What is newsworthy here is the vast scope of huge salaries paid to lots of people who you really can’t tell what they do or why so many well paid people are necessary. Private enterprise could never survive with this salary load. Whether it’s ICBC, BC Hydro, BCLC, BC Ferries, BC Housing, BC Management and Investment, BC Pension Board or Health Authorities (the list seems endless), there are thousands of people making six-figure salaries. I am not talking about surgeons, oncologists, Hydro line workers or others with an identifiable expertise.

The fuzziness about where our tax dollars go and to whom, comes out with dozens, no thousands of positions denoted as vice presidents (ICBC has over a dozen making about $250,000 a year), directors, managers, consultants and experts where they are compensated very well and often far better than people who we can’t live without.

Given the median salary in Canada is about $49,351 annually, there are thousands of people making more than triple that because of who they know? Where were these plum jobs posted? I don’t see them in the employment opportunities section of the newspaper. But don’t ask new Attorney General Suzanne Anton about how these positions were filled (see John Les), she will decline to answer.

For a government who will doggedly track down the smallest welfare overpayment, tear up contracts that barely pay a liveable wage and routinely tout a net zero mandate for the rest of us, the hypocrisy is staggering which puts Fletcher’s column, “Forget the issues, pass the muffins,” closer to the funny papers than the editorial page.

Ted Roberts

Sooke

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