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October 27, 2017 5:15 pm

Transfer of Power in B.C. Costly says Taxpayer Watchdog

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Prince George, B.C. – It isn’t official yet – but if a Green backed NDP government comes to power in B.C. there could be some significant costs associated with it.

That from Scott Hennig, communications VP with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

He says it’ll start with the usual transition costs associated with firing political staffers and replacing them with new people.

Scott Hennig, communications VP, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

“Setting them all up with new email addresses and new phones and new business cards and everything else. That costs money. As do the severances of all the people you’re getting rid of anytime you change government. You can count on that.”

But Hennig says costs can really skyrocket when you start firing a significant number of people within the bureaucracy.

“So, when you start getting rid of deputy ministers, directors of departments, heads of crown corporations, VP’s of crown corporations, that’s when it starts getting costly because every one of those people have big dollar salaries and big dollar severances,” he says.

“Political staff and the cost of printing new cards and all that – you’re looking at a few million bucks there.”

Hennig says those “big dollar salaries” are usually a minimum of $250,000 per year.

“I haven’t looked at B.C.’s deputy minister salaries recently but they usually make in and around the quarter million mark a year, sometimes higher. And if they’ve been there for 20 years some of their severances can be pretty significant,” he says.

“You could be looking at paying out severance that would last for two years – a half million to get rid of one person.

“The same goes for CEOs of crown corporations. I haven’t looked at those salaries recently either but you could easily see utility crown corporation heads making $400,000-$700,000 a year or more and severances built in that require 18 months or two-year payouts. We’ve seen numbers that high.”

But Hennig says there are things governments can do to help mitigate at least some of the transition costs.

For example, limiting the firing of top bureaucrats and only doing so when the replacement would be “considerably better and not just someone who you might owe a political favour too which is often the case.”

He says the incoming government could also limit the size of cabinet as done in Alberta when the NDP came to power in 2015.

“I think there was only 12 people in the cabinet. It’s expanded, which was to be expected, but the original cabinet was quite small which really helps when you’re not having to hire staff for 25 ministries.”

Hennig says new governments can scrimp on others costs too – unlike the Trudeau government when it came to power in 2015.

“When they changed government, the photography costs went through the roof because every minister went out and got brand new head shots and pictures on their websites talking with regular people. There’s a lot of that kind of stuff but if you can consolidate as much of that as you can that would be good.”

And if things don’t work out for the Green backed NDP alliance and a snap election is called that would be even more expensive.

Andrew Watson, communications manager with Elections BC, says the budgeted cost for the 2017 provincial election was $44,466,000 over three fiscal years (15/16,16/17 and 2017/18).

He says the actual cost will likely be published in the report of the Chief Electoral Officer for the 2017 election next January.


Maybe with the parliament being in the balances and before things get too expensive as explained in the above article, it’s time for a run off vote. Can we do such a thing?

Seldom have I read a more pointless article. I guess you really can’t expect much from a boy with a BA, especially one in Economics.

    Usually they just become teachers.

      and therefore NDP voters.

      I hardly think the pap in the article is typical of an NDP supporter. It’s just more righty propaganda.

      I know lots of teachers and union workers who do not vote NDP. If the NDP vote was only teaches and union members, they wouldn’t achieve official party status.

    Why are you in a huff today?

    It is something many people are really not aware of.

This is good info. Too often people criticize the east in govt. here it is front and centre. I hope they keep the firing to a minimum. Those senior positions don’t do that much anyways just keep them rather than fire them.

The waste not east

How about saving money by terminating people who were paid to produce useless advertising? I was so tired of government advertising for things I either did not care to know about or already knew about? Maybe it is time to remove some chafe.

There is no doubt that the cost of Government is out of control and has been for a long time. Seems we have nothing in place to ensure that tax dollars are spent in a meaningful way. Hundreds of millions of dollars (maybe billions) spent on projects for no other reason than to get re elected.

The weight of the cost of Government on taxpayers shoulders is crushing, and people are starting to crumble at the knees. Do politicians, or civil servants care. I seriously doubt it.

We could cut the size of Government by 50% especially in this day of computers etc;, and we would not know they were gone. (This would take extremely good management but it could be done).

I doubt if any action will be taken until we all go broke.

    Never thought we’d ever agree on something.

    I’d be happy if we started with a 10% cut to the civil service and slowly worked our way to a sustainable size. Start with the City, 60 million in salaries is insane.

    LOL ….. just be glad we are not the USA!!!!

    Our costs are nothing against their monetary costs and their waste of time bickering to get to the next election, which is just 2 years away due to mid terms …….. Perpetual electioneering in Canada is nothing against theirs

    Have you jumped the gun on the legal weed. The ndp loves, absolutely loves bureaucracy and red tape. To their way of thinking if one page of regulation is good then ten pages is much better and at a hundred pages they have a collective orgasm of sorts.

    As for reducing the work force because of computers have you every seen the size of IT departments. When major new programs are introduced it means a whole new round of training sessions for staff.

    The city is a good example of how much is spent on computer replacement, repair and betterment. Year after year it approaches 5% of the total budget! In addition to IT staff there are people employed in web page management with some even having people whose only job function is dedicated to social media.

    If the ndp/greens do form government and slash a bunch of jobs I sure would think twice about accepting a job offer from them given the likelyhood of a return to the polls within a year or so.

my opinion only, nobody will give up a seat for the speaker of the house. So this will eventually send us back to the polls.

In my opinion, the BC Liberals memberships need to get rid of Christie Clark. If she remains, the Liberals are sure to loose, as the NDP and the Green are going to dig in their heels, the borderline voters are going to go against the Liberals. Thus the BC Liberals, need a fresh new face, if they are serious about it. I think the membership needs to vote on this.

I think the BC Liberals, with their new face, needs to be genuinely more green on their positions. The party needs a name change. BC Party.

Environment + Economy = BC Party.

Even change the color to Teal…. Green + Blue = Teal

Even at my ripe age, I recognize that our environment is equally important as our economy. It needs to be balanced, we can’t be such a Trump about things. New times, new visions.

At ten bucks per person (46 million dollars/4.6 million B.C. population)the cost of an election is not sufficiently prohibitive to not call one!
If cost is the only reason I say let’s have a go at it!

Or just toss a coin!

The NDP and Greens will if necessary put up the speaker. The speaker would vote with the Government in any event, so realistically they would still have the majority.

At some point we will have a by election, or someone will cross the floor, and in the meantime the Greens/NDP are the Government.

This (for them) is their moment in the sun. I cannot see them rushing into an election when they can govern for a few years

I think another election is the way to go. Look where we really are at. A statistically insignificant amount of people voted Liberal over NDP. 16% voted for neither party. The assumption is a vote for Green is a like a vote for NDP – yet, one Federal election I was so annoyed with the Conservatives I voted Green because I just couldn’t vote Liberal. So you can’t say the NDP have a mandate because most people voted against Liberal, and those who voted Green, did not do so with the idea the Green would prop up the NDP.

If I was the Lt. Governor I would say that there is no one who can reasonably form a government. The only way the NDP can get power, is with a “contract” with a fringe party, and if they have to supply a speaker, the speaker has to break with convention and vote against the government in order to create non confidence. This whole thing is being held together with duct tape IMHO – and so we’re going to let a very fragile coalition fire a significant number of civil service. The coalition can only last as long none of their members miss a single confidence vote.

Now that we know what we’re facing, let’s have a do over. More money has been spent on useless government travel every year – to get democracy right it’s worth another 45 million. Now, when people vote Green, they’ll know they are also voting NDP.

Where are the RCMP ? ElectionBC handed them the file on donor fraud some time ago now . Are they working through the triple delete maze of Christy’s making ? Does it really take this long to follow the money ? What the heck is going on with them ? The people of BC deserve answers . Are we going to have to ask the New York Times ?

    It’s been since March 10th , going on four months now . What the heck are they doing ? Helping Christy hold on ?

      They are adding staff to look at the way Weaver put the big squeeze on property developers for big contributions of green to the greens…..see story from yesterday:


      Wow sparrow, your comment sure shut ataloss up! I thought for sure that it would elicit some sort of a reply, haha!

Green voters expected their winning MLA’s to be green and not orange. I would have preferred the Greens to not sign any accords with a single party but to be able to shift on the fly on specific files and issues. Now they are painted into an orange corner by a couple of power hungry men. One of them will never win a majority in this province based on their last kicks at the can. The other a fringer who thinks that reaching official party status is a win. Pathetic.

I can understand completely why so many Liberal supporters and others who dislike the idea of an NDP government are upset about the results of the election It is an indecisive result at best. However, just about all politicians say that the voters are never wrong, so this result must be the correct result, mustn’t it? Given that, there is a responsibility on politicians and voters alike to make an effort to have a successful government come from the voters’ decision. Christy Clarke herself has presumably recognised this, when she gave a commitment on video that she would not recommend to the Lieutenant Governor that she call another election. I do wonder, then, why her supporters on this site contradict her and insist there should be another election immediately. Is it an example of political sour grapes, perhaps?

Many commenters appear to think that Clarke will decide whether there is another election or not. That, of course, is not the case. That is the exclusive right of the Lieutenant Governor. She could even ask Horgan to form a government without first asking Clarke, although that is extremely unlikely given that Clarke heads the party with the most seats. It would appear to me that Clarke is in danger of appearing to be obstructive if she delays calling the Legislature into session as soon as feasible, and that may well damage her support among swing voters in an unnecessary election, particularly if it became obvious that the election was just an extension of her obstructionism.

While those on the right, and it is those who are most voluble about this, perhaps due to having been in the driver’s seat for so long, it is the Lieutenant Governor who will decide what does happen. It is within her prerogative to ask Clarke to form a government, and if that fails, to ask Horgan to do the same, or to call an election. I consider that unlikely, but we will see in the not too distant future.

Interestingly, as an aside, those same people who constantly bitch and complain about excessive taxes, wasting taxpayers’ money etc, etc, etc, have no compunction about spending millions of dollars on another election just because they do not like what the voters decided in this last one. That shows a true commitment to democracy, doesn’t it? (That’s sarcasm, folks).

    You make good points, but I could just as easily say why are the NDP afraid of a do over. After all, if the NDP really is the people’s wish, they’ll likely come back with a majority government and not have to give a rats butt what the Green’s think. Or, do the NDP believe that if they go again, voters remorse will swing the vote to the liberals.

    And I’m trying to save money. Horgan fires all those civil servants, his government loses a confidence vote 6 months from now because 2 of his MLA’s missed the ferry, and bam, another election anyway. Liberals win, fire all of Horgan’s appointees and rehires the one’s who just got fat severance checks.

    I don’t think the will of the people is all clear.

    And if convention were followed, Clark would govern. The Speaker is expected to maintain the status quo in a tie vote, but in this case, the speaker will vote to bring the government down despite convention requires the speaker to be unbiased. Clark is at this moment the Premier, the Liberals are the government. And it’s a shaky coalition that seeks to replace them.

Ski Liberals 43 NDP 41 Greens 3.. The NDP/Green have formed an alliance that gives them a majority. ie; 44. As I said before if the speaker comes from the NDP/Greens, he will vote to break a tie which would be a majority vote for the NDP/Greens.

1. Christy will lose the Government through a non confidence vote.
2. L.G. Will ask the NDP (Horgan) if he can form a Government.
3. Government formed with NDP/Greens.

So basically thats it. If at a later date the NDP lose a confidence vote, or a money vote, that could trigger an election, and of course the Liberals would be accused of playing fast and loose with BC Citizens choices.

So we wait and see.

The most important thing is that the Liberals will get a chance to sit in opposition and contemplate their navels. They are long past their **best before date** and need to fall back and reset.

As I stated before. If we just want to elect the Liberals for the next 20 years, why go through all the BS of having an election. We may as well be a monarchy. 16 years in Government is more than sufficient for any political party. Eight years max would be much better.

    Palopu have to agree with you. Yes eight yrs max would be a good start.

Excellent posts ammonia and Palopu.
It’s nice to read comments other than those posted by the usual complainers who whine about
anyone with more education than they have obviously obtained.

    karrman, it’s nice to read comments other than those posted by the usual complainers who whine about anyone with more education than they have obviously obtained?

    That’s quite the assumption that you are making!

    You do know what happens when you assume something, don’t you? ;-)

This has always been.. every change in government is costly.. out with the old and in with the new..plus severance, retirement etc..

Regardless of how this whole election situation works itself out, one can’ deny that it has been and likely will continue to be “interesting” to say the least!

Why does an election cost $46 million? Where does that money go?

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