New Westminster councillors could be reimbursed for child care

Kent Spencer, The Province

Child care expenses could be coming to New Westminster councillors if council adopts the recommendations of a report from its human resources department….

“The provision … assists citizens who choose to run for public office with expenses acquired in the performance of their duties,” says director of human resources Joan Burgess in the report to council.

Remuneration would cover up to a maximum of $40 a day and would likely cost the city about $500 a year.

The proposal was requested by council after a review of child care reimbursements in other Metro Vancouver cities; staff were requested to develop a policy similar to Delta’s.

The report recommends that public input be sought if council adopts the recommendations.

The idea prompted adverse reaction in some quarters before council had even voted on it during Monday’s meeting.

“This is a bad idea,” said Gregory Thomas, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “It’s a slippery slope. Some members of council might have elderly parents or disabled relatives they’re looking after.

“Our supporters believe in paying politicians equally — what they choose to do with that money is their business. Providing a bonus for one member of council and not all of them makes no sense at all,” he said….

“As a parent of three, I never received paid daycare without filling out subsidy forms. This is more paid perks, that come out of the pockets of less fortunate taxpayers,” he said. “Once a trend is started, it often carries throughout the province.”