The Opposition B.C. Liberals say cabinet ministers stand to gain 10 per cent on their salaries that’s normally withheld when the provincial government posts a deficit budget.
The Liberals say the New Democrat government’s budget includes a proposed amendment to the Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act that would give ministers the extra pay despite a deficit.
Liberal house leader Todd Stone says while people in B.C. are struggling with rising costs, Premier John Horgan and his cabinet ministers are about to give themselves pay raises.
Finance Minister Selina Robinson defended the proposal, saying the 10-per-cent holdback could be viewed as a deterrent to fund programs and policies that affect the budget.
Horgan’s annual salary is about $211,000 a year, while cabinet ministers are paid about $167,000, but the 10 per cent that is withheld is only on the portion of their incomes that relate to their cabinet positions.
Horgan gets about $100,000 on top of the $111,000 salary paid to members of the legislature, while cabinet ministers get about $56,000.
“Fighting unaffordability is not one of the priorities of this budget,” Stone said in the legislature. “But what was one of the priorities: making life more affordable for the premier and for NDP cabinet ministers.”
Robinson replied, “This measure, Mr. Speaker, it sent the wrong message. It prioritizes austerity and cuts over investment.”