Letters to the Editor

Crown corporation bonuses lead to fewer services, higher costs to users

Editor: B.C. residents have become slaves to Crown corporations, which pay excessively high salaries and award millions of dollars in bonuses to employees. All of these are funded by taxpayers. Shouldn’t our tax dollars be used for expenditures in which all B.C. residents benefit?

In particular, the Port Mann bridge and Highway 1 upgrade, which have both been lumped into the bridge tolls, could be paid for from general revenue — just as the Sea to Sky Highway and Alex Fraser Bridge have been. Tolls on the Port Mann are creating a hardship for those living south of the Fraser River, as they are carrying the burden of payment for much-needed improvements to B.C. highway infrastructure.

Rather than putting the burden on a few motorists, why not include all who file income tax returns in this province? A small percentage of tax would pay for highway and bridge improvements, and allow the elimination of TReO, the agency which collects the tolls and is an unnecessary bureaucracy.

Bonuses to Crown corporation employees are simply overcharged premiums, and deny benefits to clients. This money does not belong to these employees. Bonuses should be eliminated, and the exorbitant salaries of some of those employed by Crown corporations need to be reduced. Bonuses should not be awarded for doing one’s job, let alone mismanaging and incurring debt.

In the case of TransLink, 141 employees collected six-figure salaries in 2012.

BC Ferries paid out big bonuses to senior executives. This is while the corporation announced that ridership is at a 21-year low.

ICBC pays its executives high salaries and bonuses, and also pays out bonuses to employees. Yet ICBC consistently blames rising third-party liability claims for rising insurance rates.

As long as ICBC pays its employees bonuses, employees will continue to put their own financial interests above those of claimants. In 2012, ICBC unionized workers received average bonuses of $1,645, while its 852 managers received an average of $13,800 each.

WorkSafe BC is also paying its employees bonuses. In 2011, it realized a saving of $12.8 million, of which $3.2 million was distributed to unionized employees. The obvious conclusion is that claims are denied so that employees and executives can get bigger bonuses.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy had it right — “Don’t ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

E. Mason,

Langley

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