How to reduce the BC budget deficit

Two months after the last provincial election, we're hearing from Canwest Global that the half-billion dollar deficit we were told about before the election was fiction, and now we're going to get cuts in health care, education, and social services to "solve this problem".

The same Canwest Global never misses an opportunity to tell us that it's the Liberal Party of BC that we should trust to manage the provincial finances. Why? Because it's the Liberal Party of BC that we should trust to manage the provincial finances.

So, armed with the knowledge that we can expect Gordon Campbell, Kevin Falcon and Co. to do the right thing, I'm offering a couple of suggestions on how they can cut expenses.

1. Fire Kevin Mahoney: Mahoney was paid $494,182 last year to run the part of BC Rail that wasn't given away to CN. That leaves 40 km. of track, no rolling stock, and 24 employees.

Premier Campbell, if you're going to start talking about welfare extravagance, start at the top. Set an example by telling BC's biggest welfare recipient to get a real job. And don't pull this "severance package" stunt again; Mahoney's salary is already a severance package.

Read more about it: Public taken for a 40km, $1.2m gravy train ride, by Michael Smyth.

2. Shut down the Public Affairs Bureau: This is a bureaucracy with 223 employees, and costs us hard-working taxpayers $28 million a year.

Not a one of these 223 employees is responsible for paving streets, collecting garbage, educating students, or putting criminals in jail. Instead, they "manage" the information that we get from the provincial government.

To give you some perspective on what a boondoggle this is, there isn't a newspaper or television station in Canada that has 223 employees.

Not a single teacher or nurse should be laid off by the provincial government until every single one of these people has been fired. Show us what your priorities are, Gordon. And, when you do this, be as vindictive about it as you're capable of, so that the NDP won't be tempted to reinstate this abomination after winning some future election.

More on this from Miro Cernetig: With Fourth Estate under siege, governments seek to manage the news
Blog entry from BC Mary: About that Public Affairs Bureau ... this premier has the largest political communications staff in B.C. history

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