Premier Christy Clark stands by Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk

Amrik Virk Photo by Chandra Bodalia

OOPS, he forgot!

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk’s memory loss recovered rapidly when, thanks to a whistleblower at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the NDP released emails that showed Virk did participate in the discussions about a hidden bonus for then-University of Regina dean of business Ann Lavack to lure her to become vice-president academic (VPA) for KPU.

Virk, who was an RCMP inspector when he was on the KPU board of governors in April 2011, emailed: “Given the low pay level of a VPA at Kwantlen and the difficulty in drawing candidates within the current pay scale, the research leave is one way to ‘top’ off the pay level.”

Virk said he had forgotten about the email.

Virk told the media that the emails are from an old RCMP account he doesn’t have access to any longer. But now he would forward the documents to assistant deputy minister Rob Mingay, who had conducted a review earlier.

The Opposition wanted Virk out of the cabinet, but he told the media it was up to Premier Christy Clark.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong came to Virk’s defence, telling media that Virk had already admitted to his past disclosure inadequacies. He ordered a renewed investigation of the new emails.

On Thursday, at the end of the legislative session, Premier Christy Clark made it crystal clear that Virk would stay put.

She asserted: “I have absolute confidence in the work that the minister is doing.”

Clark added: “The minister made a mistake. He’s admitted that, and he’s apologized for doing that. In the meantime, he has continued to do excellent work on behalf of the people of British Columbia. He continues to enjoy my full confidence in doing that.”

Then she lashed back at the NDP reminding them of what she called a “train wreck of ethical lapses under the previous NDP government.”