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External Investigator the right move for B.C. Legislature

February 22, 2019
External Investigator the right move for B.C. Legislature

 

  • Speaker Plecas alleging more lavish spending of taxpayer dollars
  • Committee agrees to external investigation

VANCOUVER, BC: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding a move by MLAs in Victoria to open the B.C. legislature to an outside investigation in the wake of the shocking allegations of misspending of taxpayers’ money by senior staff.

“We’re pleased that the politicians realise that many British Columbians have lost trust in what’s happening with their money in the legislature and that they are heeding the CTF’s call for an external investigation,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “The person doing this investigation needs to be someone not connected to the legislature, and who B.C. taxpayers can trust will leave no stone unturned.”

The CTF has repeatedly called for a full independent review of spending done by all who work at the B.C. legislature after Speaker Darryl Plecas released a report, backed up by hundreds of documents, showing the flagrant spending of taxpayers’ money on everything from overseas trips to fancy camera equipment, to a firewood splitter.

In his second report to the Legislative Management Committee, Speaker Plecas reported that excursions that were expensed as “Tsunami Watch: Guided tours of Haro Strait and Juan de Fuca Strait with explanations of aquatic life and seismic activity” and training in “Safe passages: Large-Scale Evacuations” were actually a whale watching tour and 13 tickets to a Seattle Mariners baseball game, respectively. Cost to taxpayers for both exercises was $2,434.40 CAD.

“It’s a shame these officials reportedly used their creative abilities for tricking taxpayers rather than to find savings and efficiencies within their departments,” Sims added. “Further to the independent investigation, we need those staff who are spending our money to answer direct questions at an open legislative committee meeting, so taxpayers can hear the explanations themselves and make up their own minds whether or not this spending is justified.”

The position of Clerk at the B.C. Legislature is paid $347,000 per year – the same amount that the prime minister of Canada makes – while the Sergeant-at-arms is paid $218,167 per year.

Along with making all legislature staff subject to Freedom of Information regulations, the CTF is calling for all expense forms and receipts incurred by staff such as the Clerk, the Sergeant-at-arms and the Speaker to be proactively and routinely posted online so that taxpayers can see where their money is going.

The full report and the receipts for the expenses can all be viewed on the legislature website.

To sign the petition to have all expenses posted online and for an external investigation click HERE.

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