Local MLA Gary Coons and provincial NDP leader, Adrian Dix, sent another letter to the office of the Premier regarding the BC Ferries pension controversy. This time they were demanding that Christy Clark make public all the documents regarding the decision by the board of directors to give David Hahn a supplementary pension of over $200,000. They also want the details of the retirement agreements for two other BC Ferries board members.
“The official opposition expects your office will ensure these documents are made available online in short order given your commitment to ‘open government,’” reads the letter that was signed by both Coons who is the ferry critic, and his party leader.
The Opposition is looking for a report made by a consultant for the BC Ferries board for them to consider before they decided to give Hahn his bonus pension. According to the letter, the NDP wants the documents to if they back up the premier’s claim that a government review of the pensions is not possible.
“They’ve refused to review the pension agreement and we’re hoping that by releasing these pension agreements and the consultants report it will allow us, and others, to test the claim that Christy Clark is powerless to act,” says Coons.
In order to see the information that they hope to hang the Liberal government with, the NDP needs premier Christy Clark to make it public. This is because if they make a request for the documents under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, they believe they would be turned down because the documents are private contracts.
“We think the public and tax payers, especially those who rely on the ferries who are paying horrendous fares, have a right to see the agreement that was signed, and to see if there is any way that we as responsible elected representatives can work on behalf of tax payers can find some way of reworking the contract so that there isn’t a treasure chest of salaries, benefits and pensions,” says Coons.
The NDP isn’t only worried about David Hahns extra pension anymore either. They are also demanding the details of retiring agreements of two vice-presidents at BC Ferries as well, Mike Corrigan and Glen Schwartz.
According to BC Ferries documents, Corrigan, who will be reaching retirement age in a few years, has received an extra pension that is actually larger than David Hahn’s, $224,000 a year, while Schwartz has a smaller pension of $102,000 per year. The NDP is also pointing out that the board decided to give these two and Hahn a 17 per cent pay raise, and a 30 per cent bonus increase the same fiscal year that the Queen of the North sank off the coast of Hartley Bay.
“These decisions, sanctioned by this BC Liberal government are so out of touch with reality.”