Re: “MLA expense claims are a joke”, (Citizen, Aug. 24)
Subsequent to publication of this letter, a number of MLAs named have objected to it and stated that travel expenses are allowable if a trip is commenced within their constituency, but extended beyond their constituency. In addition, they note that Legislative Assembly Financial Services has confirmed that members’ expenses are all routinely reviewed and audited, in some cases, by B.C.’s Auditor General. They say, in the result, that it is unfair and inaccurate to characterize such claims as “bogus”. This paper is pleased to acknowledge that response, as we have no desire to publish only one side of any issue.
The statutory regulation of MLA expense claims is that MLA’s claim expenses from their constituency offices to and from Victoria, all expenses while in Victoria, and expenses in regards to travel within the province out side of their elected constituency offices. These are called ALLOWABLE EXPENSES. These allowable expenses become NON-ALLOWABLE EXPENSES when working in their home constituency offices. The reason for this is that all MLAs receive $119,000 per year for the financial management operation of their offices. No expense claims allowed to them in their home constituency offices.
The NDP MLAs have their expense claims available ONLINE to anyone who is interested to see what expenses are being reimbursed. Some examples of BOGUS EXPENSES, are NDP MLAs claiming non allowable expenses while working in their home riding.
They include Sue Hammell claiming car mileage, Judy Darcy claiming car mileage and parking, Jane Shin claiming car mileage, breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals, Bruce Ralston claiming lunches, TransLink fares, parking, and taxi, Kathy Corrigan claiming car mileage, taxi, breakfast and lunch meals, parking and trans link fares, Raj Chouhan claiming trans link fares, parking, and mileage, Adrian Dix claiming TransLink fares and parking.
Harry Bains and Mike Farnworth make allowable expense claims on taxi fares, during their travels. These taxi fares average $100 per ride. Does this mean that they are avoiding public transit and taking a taxi from the Legislature to the ferry terminal?
My conclusion is that MLA travel expense claims are not being audited by the B.C. Auditor General’s department. Also why are the accounting staff in the B.C. Legislature office writing out cheques for these bogus expense claims? No verification whatsoever being dong. One big joke!
A license to print money on the B.C. taxpayer expense.