B.C. Premier Christy Clark is promising a crackdown on crown corporations and public entities that will force them to deliver what the government is describing as top-level service while controlling costs.
Ms. Clark touted the effort Wednesday before hundreds of B.C. Liberals, including MLAs and leaders in the business community, attending her annual leaders’ dinner in Vancouver.
“For the first time, every board member of every major crown and public entity will be required to sign a mandate letter,” Ms. Clark said in her remarks.
“They will be evaluated against their own performance, against that mandate.”
Objectives will include controls on spending and driving down costs while preserving and enhancing services for the public, said the premier.
Standards for integrity will also be key, said Ms. Clark, as leaders drive a “culture change” within their organizations.
“Government will give guidance on standards of conduct to those organizations that will be the standard for executives and their employees.
“This will include conduct and compensation.”
Mandate letters are currently given to ministers, laying out objectives for their work as members of cabinet.
The new principles apply to Crown corporations, health authorities, and post-secondary institutions with additional policy in the works for other public-sector organizations and entities, said a government statement on the plan.
Ms. Clark said that it was only fair to bring this change to crowns and public entitles because such an approach has been standard within core government and demanded of public employees.
“You deserve, as a taxpayer to know that every promise they make to treat your money like it was your last, is one to which they will hold true,” said Ms. Clark.
Wednesday’s dinner was the first such leaders’ event in Vancouver since April. 2013 when the gathering came as the Liberals were facing gloomy polls that suggested the party was headed for defeat in the May, 2013 election.
However, the Liberals managed to win a fourth majority mandate over the B.C. NDP as the result of a campaign that balanced commitments to jobs, the economy and resource development with blunt attacks on former NDP leader Adrian Dix.
Ms. Clark said voters were backing a future-oriented option offered by the Liberals. “They voted for a strong economy now, today and they voted for a secure future tomorrow,” said Ms. Clark Of the NDP, Ms. Clark said “they are good people, but they have really, really bad ideas.”
On another note, Ms. Clark said, as the prospect of a teachers’ strike looms, that teachers deserve a raise, but only if it is affordable for government.
Liberals did not release attendance or revenue figures for the dinner, which came at a price of $450 a plate with varying rates for tables.
Bob Rennie, the party’s fundraising chair, told the audience that the dinner raised the most for a premiers’ dinner in party history, but did not provide a figure. He said the Liberals now have 71, 114 card-carrying members.