THE Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the British Columbia government to strengthen the office of the Municipal Auditor General in the wake of the spending scandal rocking the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
“We need to send a message that a bureaucrat spending nearly $8,000 of taxpayers’ money on a champagne room is unacceptable,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “This spending scandal shows that our cities and towns need a strong office of the Municipal Auditor General for B.C., and that Premier John Horgan needs to make this a priority.”
The Kamloops This Week newspaper tabulated receipts from a credit card used by former chief administrative officer for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Sukh Gill, from 2015 to 2020.
The charges over that period of time include $174,000 spent at coffee shops and restaurants using taxpayers’ money, about once every other day for five years. Many of the restaurant purchases were at high end steakhouses and eateries including a $6,840 charge plus a $1,000 deposit for the Bearfoot Bistro’s champagne room in Whistler in September of 2018.
Another bill for $3,793 at Moxies restaurant on June 11, 2018, includes the description “All-day meeting, continental breakfast, custom lunch buffet, chicken tortilla rolls, spinach and artichoke dip, goat cheese bruschetta, pop and juice, bottled juice, beer, liquor and wine.”
Many of the receipts are for alcohol, including liquor store purchases.
“Many British Columbians are struggling to make ends meet and they should be furious that bureaucrats and politicians are treating each other to gifts of $997 diamond necklaces and fancy dinners on their dime,” said Sims. “Taxpayers deserve accountability and giving them an office of watchdogs keeping an eye on things would make government fat cats who are wining and dining each other at our expense think twice about doing so.”
To read the hundreds of itemized expenses compiled by Kamloops this Week, click HERE.