In fact, there seemed to be one big collective yawn.
Indeed, the BC NDP seems to evoke disgust and Premier Christy Clark can just go on doing her stuff – even with blunders – because for British Columbians there does not seem to be a credible alternative.
At least for now.
Yes, the Liberals are not perfect, but the NDP is worse.
The NDP is supposed to be a party for the poor – but the behavior and attitude of its MLAs tell a very different story.
Just last March there was this big drama as Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Kwan tearfully announced she would pay back $34,922 for travel expenses charged to Vancouver charity Portland Hotel Society and blamed her ex-husband for it. She said she was taking an unpaid leave of absence as an MLA. But just a few weeks later she was back!
And of course she never noticed that she stayed in a $871-a-night hotel room in Britain. And this guardian of the poor never realized that a society that was supposed to be serving the poorest souls in town was recklessly spending $12,028 in limousine rides for society executives billed and $8,395 for spa treatments and $69,000 for grub at Vancouver’s finest restaurants!
Isn’t that what we call turning a blind eye to something?
And then we learned that Kwan, who represents one the poorest neighbourhoods in the country, lives in a $1.9-MILLION home!
Then there was Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan, who is also Deputy Speaker, who repaid $2,200 for his wife’s fare for a South African trip to a parliamentary conference. Speaker Linda Reid reportedly assured him that it was okay for him to take his wife along at the taxpayers’ expense. Reid herself had to fork out more than $5,500 for her husband’s business class fare to the same conference after the media came to learn of it.
But then, as I reported recently, just when everyone had forgotten about it, he tried to garner sympathy by explaining to The Province newspaper that he had asked three different legislature officials about including his wife on the trip at the taxpayers’ expense and was told it was okay. But that backfired as angry readers tore a strip off him.
So why did I bring up these two recent cases again?
BECAUSE yet another NDP MLA – this time Surrey-Whalley’s Bruce Ralston, who is also the Opposition House Leader, just didn’t seem to get it at the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC) meeting that taxpayers are really in a very negative mood about how their precious dollars are spent by their representatives.
And this if from a party that shouts and screams itself hoarse about standing up for the poor guy!
As Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer reported, the LAMC’s finance and audit subcommittee had proposed that we should cough up $61 per diem ($61? Why not $60?) for food for an MLA’s travelling companion.
Finance Minister Mike de Jong, who’s been getting increasingly frustrated at the way some MLAs from both parties have been spending cash, noted: “We have these 12 trips [each MLA can take someone along with them to Victoria a dozen times a year at our expense]. I actually don’t think that if you bring your child to Victoria, they should get a per diem.”
Wow – 60 bucks (oops, I mean 61 bucks!) per day for grub. How many of us spend $60 a day on food (unless of course you go to some fancy restaurant like Kwan’s ex-husband did!)?
But the poor party’s MLA, Ralston thought $61 was no biggie, arguing, “If the goal is to keep families together, then, surely there should be some consideration to the fact that you’re going to, obviously, want to feed your child when you’re here.”
Hmm, I wonder what all those NDP supporters on welfare think about that!
De Jong had to point out to Ralston: “It’s not like we’re paupers. It’s not like we aren’t paid a good wage to do this.”
I think MLAs from both parties should stop acting like sneaky characters who use committees and subcommittees to coolly slip in recommendations that they know the public are just not going to like.