It is indeed a disgrace that both the Liberals and the NDP have not asked these two to resign after their spending scandals.
As we reported last week, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Kwan announced on March 21 that she would pay back $34,922 for travel expenses charged to Vancouver charity Portland Hotel Society and claimed that her ex-husband, Dan Small, had told her that the trips to Europe and Disneyland with him and her two kids were not being paid by the PHS where he was director of policy research and funding development.
Kwan said she was going to take responsibility for the trips and pay for them even though she didn’t have all the information about the expenses. She said she was going to take an unpaid leave of absence as an MLA – BUT she would NOT be resigning.
As I pointed out last week: “Kwan was one of the leaders of the small group of MLAs who forced then-NDP leader Carole James to step down. Many angry and bitter NDP supporters feel that if James had stayed on, the party would have been power today. James’ successor Adrian Dix completely messed up the election campaign last year.”
The intense indignation of the public was reflected in letters to the media. One reader in reaction to her claim that she was assured by her then-husband that he paid for the trip out of his pocket, bluntly noted: “Does that imply that she had doubts?”
Regarding her absence of leave announcement, the same reader called it “cowardly.”
Again, exactly my reaction too. Here was this FIERCE politician who shamelessly led a revolt against James and now she was running away.
Hey, Jenny, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!
The NDP MLAs – especially party leader Adrian Dix and wannabe leaders John Horgan and Mike Farnworth – have disgraced themselves by not asking Kwan to quit.
I can understand Dix remaining mum because he himself has been under a cloud when it comes to ethics. Remember the ad from the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association in last year’s election: “Adrian Dix was fired after forging a memo to cover for Premier Glen Clark.”
So how can he, of all people, ask Kwan to quit, eh!?
The NDP’s credibility is only getting WORSE – their press statements against the government hardly evoke any interest among the general public – it’s like: We know the Liberals are a bunch of crooks, BUT the NDP are the same IF not worse!
I also wonder to what extent the WHITE MALE MLAs have held back from attacking Kwan because of the RACE factor – especially when it also involves a female. (Come on, dudes, fess up!)
REID’S hypocrisy was also thoroughly exposed when she was forced to announce that she had repaid the $5,528.16 for her husband’s business class airfare to South Africa to accompany her to a parliamentary conference.
In fact, she even persuaded NDP MLA Raj Chouhan, who is the deputy Speaker, that it was also okay for him to take his wife along on the South African trip. But at least the Chouhans took the economy class. Chouhan has repaid $2,200.
The fact is that Reid only paid up because she got CAUGHT.
One reader in his letter to the media pointed out: “If the two longest-serving members of the BC legislature – Liberal Speaker Linda Reid and NDP MLA Jenny Kwan – are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, how deep and how extensive is the sense of entitlement amon the political careerists?”
Former solicitor general Kash Heed told me: “We need to call on more transparency on how the taxpayers’ dollars are spent by government officials. So we’ve seen examples across Canada – with the Senate, with what’s happened with the Premier of Alberta, and now we have homegrown examples.
“In my opinion this is just the tip of the iceberg on government officials inappropriately using taxpayers’ money and whether they’re due to the policy or regulations that are put in place that are flawed or the fact that the transparency is required … so a lot of politicians have called for more accountability – but those are just words. In practice you can see that is not happening.”
Heed told me that politicians are just fooling their constituents in saying ‘Oh yes, we are making changes.’ Heed added: “But in fact those changes never take place and people continue to operate in a way that they feel they’re deserving all this and they continue to inappropriately spend tax dollars.”