DOCUMENTS released through Freedom of Information show that Amrik Virk, now a B.C. Liberal cabinet minister, wasted $177,000 hiring a Liberal insider to lobby the B.C. government, the NDP said on Monday.
“Amrik Virk used money meant for students to pay friends of the B.C. Liberal government to lobby on behalf of Kwantlen – a job he should have been doing himself as a member of the board,” said New Democrat Advanced Education Spokesperson Kathy Corrigan.
Corrigan, along with New Democrat MLAs David Eby (Vancouver-Point Grey) and Sue Hammell (Surrey-Green Timbers) questioned the Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson about the expenditures of public money in question period in the legislature on Monday.
The documents, released to the B.C. New Democrats by Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) through a Freedom of Information request, show that over a three-and-a half year period Mark Jiles was paid $177,000 to lobby key members of the B.C. Liberal government. In the documents, Jiles boasts of having strong relationships with key B.C. Liberal MLAs, including Mike De Jong, Stephanie Cadieux, and Bill Bennett.
“We asked Kwantlen for all work produced by Mr. Jiles for his fat paycheque and all we got back were four pages. The government must be held accountable for this outright waste of student money,” said Corrigan.
The contents of the FOI documents are just the latest in an embarrassing string of revelations about Amrik Virk’s conduct while he was a board member at KPU. In December, Virk was stripped of the Advanced Education file after it was revealed that he had broken rules and concealed incriminating information from the public, noted the NDP.