You “deserve every penny” you’re paid, says Dosanjh

Campbell panned for supporting tax breaks for wealthy but opposing minimum wage boost for lowest-paid workers

When it comes to valuing the efforts of health care workers, Premier Ujjal Dosanjh says he and Gordon Campbell are miles apart.

The Liberal leader, says Dosanjh, has openly criticized pay rates for health care workers and complained that fair wages in health care are wasteful. But on the other hand, says the Premier, “I believe health care workers deserve every penny they get caring for British Columbians,” he told the NDP’s provincial council Sept. 23.

At the meeting, Dosanjh sketched out the NDP’s re-election strategy that will focus in on issues like health care, education, child care and the environment. Above all, the campaign will contrast the NDP’s progressive social vision with Campbell’s right-wing policies. The government’s recent minimum wage boost—which Campbell opposed and HEU strongly supported—is proof that the Liberal leader “has no positive social agenda that addresses the needs of today’s families,” said the Premier.

“What does it say about someone who wants to give hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest British Columbians, but won’t support 85 cents an hour more for the lowest paid workers?”

Dosanjh’s comments, says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, “are an important recognition by the Premier of the critical role health care workers like HEU members are playing in keeping our medicare system going during some pretty challenging times.”

By comparison, says Allnutt, “Campbell, his caucus and allies in the business community have been highly critical of our wage rates, ridiculed our historic pay equity plan and have openly called for HEU members’ jobs to be privatized under a Liberal government. They clearly have a plan to try to roll back the important gains we’ve made under the NDP.”