Premier David Eby recently announced the appointment of three new special advisors to help tackle the pressing issues of his government.
These new advisors will focus on healthcare, Indigenous reconciliation and housing.
The move has been met with both praise and criticism, with some questioning the need for these positions in a government that already have ministers in charge of these areas.
The appointed advisors will report directly to the Premier, and some wonder why the centralizing of power to the Premier’s office.
A Premier could need special advisors for several reasons.
Firstly, they can provide the Premier with specialized knowledge and expertise in specific areas. This knowledge is essential in making informed decisions and they may be able to come up with creative solutions.
Secondly, special advisors can act as a direct link between the Premier and various stakeholders, such as business leaders, community organizations, and interest groups. This connection allows for the Premier to receive direct feedback on the issues that matter most to the people, and to make decisions based on this feedback.
One may safely assume that Premier Eby doesn’t trust his own ministers, and by extension the public service. Which is interesting because he has added additional ministers and parliamentary secretaries, along with over 100,000 public servants.
The talking point rationale is that advisors can help quicken decisions through bureaucratic bloat.
NDP governments have traditionally been large, slow moving and grow with every year they are in power.
Large, bloated governments often move slowly due to the sheer number of bureaucrats and decision-makers involved in any given decision. With more people involved, there are more opinions and perspectives to consider, leading to longer wait times for decisions to be made and executed.
So in reality, adding more advisors could exacerbate those time frames and confuse the chains of command. In addition, advisors are not accountable to you in the same way that Ministers are.
Advisors also cost the you, the taxpayer.
Premier Eby’s new list of advisors will cost over $575,000 per year, and that’s with two of them working only part time!
The housing advisor, Lisa Helps, is a former two-time mayor of Victoria. With a strong background in affordable housing and community development, she is seemingly well-equipped to advise the Premier on housing and homelessness issues.
But was she able to get her “missing middle” objectives through her city’s council for the three years that she tried?
No. Sadly, it was only after she left that the initiative was finally passed.
As mayor, Lisa Helps commissioned a survey through MNP that showed that 80% of respondents were dissatisfied with the City of Victoria’s governance. 73% didn’t believe that public input is considered in council in its decision-making process.
In addition, a recent CMHC study showed Victoria to be the third most expensive city in Canada to rent a two bedroom suite in a purpose built rental building.
This is who Eby chooses to help advise him in how to address attainable housing?
One thing for sure, Premier David Eby has charted a course on a very different power path than the distributed and trusting model of Premier Horgan.
The results will be known by the outcomes.
Unfortunately, the taxpayer will have paid almost a million dollars for these results.
My question to you is this:
Do you think that Eby’s advisors will result in better decisions and outcomes?
I love hearing from you and I read every email! Email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call me at 250-712-3620.