A petition urging B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone to order the B.C. Ferries board to rein in salaries and bonuses to senior executives has collected 2,000 signatures since it went online Thursday.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation floated the petition following an outcry to the recent disclosure B.C. Ferries' top three executives alone account for more than $1.5 million in costs annually to the publicly owned company.
Ferries would have ended the year with a loss, if not for a $20-million government subsidy.
The petition calls upon the government to amend the Coastal Ferry Act to end exorbitant pay and bonuses and to make B.C. Ferries responsible to the minister, like in Washington
State, where ferries report to the governor.
The government severed B.C. Ferries' ties to the transportation ministry in 2003, to end political interference blamed for the fast ferry fiasco of the 1990s.
In Washington, executives get no perks or bonuses, and base salaries are half the amounts the B.C. Ferries board approved.
Stone recently gave the board an ultimatum to fix the bonus system within 30 days. The Taxpayer Federation wants the legislation changed.
"With this petition we feel it was important, given the minister's sudden interest in this, to take action, up to and including firing of the board" if the problem isn't addressed, said Jordan Bateman, B.C. Taxpayers Federation spokesman.
Three B.C. Ferries executives' total compensation last year reached about $500,000 each, and Bateman said it drives up workers' expectations, and costs. Entry-level jobs start at $22.06 an hour, and "the pay structure as a whole is flawed," at B.C. Ferries, Bateman said.
The petition will be presented to Stone before the 30-day ultimatum period runs out.
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