Letters to the Editor

Let's look at MLAs' work load

Editor:  Re:  Bill 22 and teacher job action.

It seems ironic that it is the provincial government which is is legislating B.C. teachers back to work. There is always scrutiny over teachers' hours, holidays and wage demands. The teachers of course emphasize that school hours don’t reflect extracurricular activities, prep time, marking and report cards, etc.

And who is making the decision to legislate them back to work?  It is our equally hard-working MLAs.  In 2012, MLAs are scheduled to sit in the legislature for a total of 75 days — 47 days between January and June and 28 days between June and December.

In 2011, they sat in the house for a total of 24 days between January and June before they had their summer holidays. No doubt there are committee meetings, calls from constituents, research of legislation, photo-ops, etc. that take up many more hours. Let’s not forget, they have staff to assist them.

We can actually see some of the extra hours that many teachers put in through school sports teams, band concerts, drama performances and report cards. The extra hours some of our MLAs put in remain largely invisible.

With salaries over $100,000.00 annually, pensions that are taxpayer-funded and compensated travel and expense accounts, their remuneration is not too bad. Fortunately they froze their salaries, or the electorate might start looking more closely at the people that have brought in Bill 22.

If the public paid the same attention to their politicians’ workload and compensation as they do to their children’s teachers’, they might demand more accountability of their MLAs. Perhaps the Legislative Assembly would not sit empty 80 per cent of the year. Then the irony may not seem as striking.

Tom Barichello,


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