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HomeMiscellanyOf better paycheques and change (but not chump change)

Of better paycheques and change (but not chump change)


Bob Mackin 

Ten numbers you need to know from the end of the 16-year BC Liberal dynasty and start of the Green-supported NDP minority government. 


Three of the BC Liberals favourite ministries are no longer: Natural Gas Development, International Trade and Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. 

International Trade and Small Business functions are absorbed by Jobs, Trade and Technology under Bruce Ralston. The LNG file goes where it naturally belongs, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources under Michelle Mungall. 


Four people appointed by Gordon Campbell when he came to power on June 5, 2001 were with the Liberal dynasty when it ended July 17, 2017 under Christy Clark: Neil Sweeney, Deputy Chief of Staff, Issues Management (2001), Deputy Minister Corporate Policy (2017); Mike

IN: Oreck and Vdovine (Twitter)

McDonald, Director of Outreach and Special Projects (2001), Chief of Staff (2017); Antoinette De Wit, Managing Director, Correspondence (2001 and 2017); and Primrose Carson, Director of Internal Liaison (2001), caucus executive director (2017).


The number of people in the Office of the Premier who will be paid more than the base $105,881.83 salary for an MLA: Chief of Staff Geoff Meggs ($195,000), Director of Communications Sage Aaron ($125,000), Director of Operations Kate Van Meer Mass ($125,000), Director of Stakeholder Relations Mira Oreck ($120,000), Press Secretary Sheena McConnell ($120,000) and Deputy Communications Director Jen Holmwood ($110,000). 


The number of deputy ministers who didn’t make the transition from the Clark government to the Horgan government. 

Also the number of new deputy ministers in the 2001 Campbell government. 

The Campbell picks included two of his deputy ministers (Ken Dobell and Brenda Eaton), intergovernmental relations deputy minister Andrew Wilkinson (who was David Eby’s attorney general predecessor in Clark’s cabinet), and forests deputy minister Don Wright. 

Horgan hired Wright as his deputy minister to head the public service. 

Clark rescinded the cabinet appointments for 10 senior mandarins, including Dave Byng (Education); John Paul Fraser (Government Communications and Public Engagement); Kim Henderson (Office of the Premier); Sweeney, Athana Mentzelopoulos (Finance); and Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland (Finance). The latter two were the overseers of the government’s central freedom of information office for Mike de Jong, the finance minister who claimed that he doesn’t use email. Severance information is to be released. 


The number of full cabinet ministers in the Campbell and Horgan administrations. 

Additionally, Campbell had seven ministers of state. Horgan lists two ministers of state in cabinet, plus six parliamentary secretaries. 

Four of Campbell’s choices became career politicians and were in the Liberal cabinet at the end of the dynasty: de Jong, forests (2001), finance (2017), Clark, education/deputy premier (2001), premier (2017), Rich Coleman, solicitor-general (2001) and natural gas/housing/deputy premier (2017), and Shirley Bond, advanced education (2001) and jobs, tourism and skills training (2017).


OUT: “Secrecy Sisters” Mentzelopoulos and Wenezenki-Yolland. (BC Gov)

In three cabinet orders bearing Clark’s signature, 132 people were dismissed. GCPE assistant deputy ministers Denise Champion, Kelly Gleeson and Matt Gordon and 38 of their staff (including Clark’s videographer Kyle Surovy), plus 75 from across cabinet ministers’ offices and 16 administrative coordinators. On his last day as premier, Ujjal Dosanjh rescinded cabinet appointments for 94 people.


The number of the first Order in Council issued under the Horgan cabinet, listing cabinet members and their responsibilities. Number 213 lists their duties, powers and functions. 


What Manitoba import Bob Dewar will be paid annually as special advisor to Horgan. He managed Horgan’s “Better B.C.” campaign and was believed to be a shoe-in for chief of staff before Meggs was hired. Marie Della Matia, the former NOW Communications adwoman, is Horgan’s other special advisor. She will get only $30,000-a-year. 


Meggs’s pay raise, after leaving his $85,077-a-year job as a Vancouver city councilllor to become the $195,000-a-year chief of staff. 

The 2016-2017 public accounts haven’t been published, so we don’t know how much Deputy Chief of Staff Michele Cadario was paid last year. 

Clark rewarded her after the 2013 election with a $195,148 job, which was about 60% more than her predecessor, the Quick Wins-disgraced,  Kim Haakstad got ($149,027). 

In early 2016, Steve Carr became Clark’s chief of staff. It was reported as a $228,000 no-bid contract to “Provide Strategic and Personnel Advice” from Feb. 1, 2016 to end of September 2016.


The combined annualized pay rate of Vision Vancouver power couple Stepan Vdovine ($94,500) and Mira Oreck ($120,000). He is the executive director of the party that controls Vancouver city hall who was named an aide to Tourism, Arts and Culture minister Lisa Beare. She is the longtime Vision strategist and Broadbent Institute veteran who ran unsuccessfully for the federal NDP in 2015 after spending time with the Jewish Council for Education and Research’s pro-Obama campaign. Oreck’s title is director of stakeholder relations.