VICTORIA – The Liberals failed to notice dramatic increases in the size of management and spikes in executive wages and bonuses at ICBC for half a decade. It is just one more symptom of the Liberals' mismanagement of the province and its finances, say New Democrats.
“The fact that it took five years for the B.C. Liberals to notice that management levels and executive pay and perks at ICBC were spiraling out of control shows that they have been asleep at the switch,” said Mable Elmore, the New Democrat critic for ICBC.
Elmore said ICBC was set up in 1973 to provide quality, affordable automobile insurance to British Columbians. B.C. is ill-served by a massive increase in the number of managers since 2007 while the number of front line workers decreases.
“This isn’t a new problem. New Democrats have been raising concerns for years about outrageous compensation levels at publicly-owned corporations under the Liberals’ watch,” said Elmore.
“Whether it's paying an executive more than half a million dollars a year to manage a few kilometres of B.C. Rail track, or paying a million dollars a year for the CEO of B.C. Ferries, the public is tired of paying the bill for B.C. Liberal mismanagement,” said Elmore. “For years the Liberals have been telling ordinary British Columbians to tighten their belts, while they allowed managers and executives to line their pockets at the public’s expense.”
Elmore said one of the worst examples was at Community Living B.C. where executives received outrageous bonuses at a time when services were being cut for people with developmental disabilities.
“Yet we’ve seen that far from being a wakeup call for the Liberals, they continued to ignore skyrocketing pay and perks at crown and taxpayer supported corporations,” said Elmore.
Elmore noted that New Democrats have repeatedly called on the Liberals to take action to bring top-level salaries in line with public expectations, but after 11 years in power the Liberals have shown they simply aren’t able to manage the province with fairness, competence and accountability.
“The Liberals are being forced into action due to pressure from the opposition and public,” said Elmore. “But the band-aid fixes aren’t enough, and they're much too late. Today’s report and changes announced in July don’t go far enough, and many publicly owned entities are exempt from new rules, including B.C. Ferries and TransLink.”
Elmore said the Liberals have had 11 years to show the public that they can manage the finances of the province and they have failed to do so.
“Adrian Dix and the New Democrats will bring fairness, accountability and competence to the management of B.C.’s finances, and we will put the needs of ordinary citizens first in the operations of ICBC and other services."