March 31, 2014
By: Terry Hand
It isn’t a sign of the times. It’s a practice that has existed for a very long time. The problem is that voters have extremely short memories helped of course by the sheer volume of information they must digest. I am referring to the practice of politicians putting their sticky fingers into the public pockets and severely exceeding their privileges.
Two years ago In July of 2012 the CBC reported on comments by BC Auditor General (at the time) John Doyle after he released a scathing review of the state of accounting in the BC Speaker’s office. “John Doyle says his audit of the past three fiscal years found the Speaker’s office, which controls the legislative assembly budget, does not produce financial statements, does not demand receipts for MLAs’ expense accounts and does not properly reconcile its bank balances.”
Here we are two years later, and in the past month we have been bombarded with media articles revealing MLAs’ and opposition members’ overspending habits, fancy hotels, expensive meals, extremely overpriced computers, and trips abroad, including tickets for accompanying spouses. At least one opposition member actually defended the idea of a spouse being able to accompany politicians at taxpayer expense. I have many friends with young families, who fly to Fort McMurray to work because there are no jobs available in BC, this in spite of the BC Jobs Plan. These young workers fly out for two weeks of 12 hour shifts plus overtime in some cases, then they fly home for one week, two days of which are spent traveling. Will these men and women workers qualify to have their spouse accompany them? Of course not!
Make no mistake politicians are very well paid for what they do, and the privileges, and perks they enjoy are not deserved. If they were in the private sector many of them would be fired based on their performance. In the past week we have had MLAs and opposition members writing personal cheques to repay the public, repayments I add which would never have been made if it wasn’t for the fact they got caught. What happens if a waitress pockets $20.00 from the cash register, or the representative who pads his meal and hotel expense? They would be fired, no excuses; MLAs, they get re-elected!
Although, I don’t want to dwell on the problem which we all know. Solutions is what BC Refed is about. We know that no other party will rectify any of this, why would they? It’s a sweet deal for all concerned no matter which side of the house you sit. Solutions is what BC Refed has, and the last bulletin earlier this month was the beginning of a scheduled release of active solutions. BC Refed’s Proposed Rules for Government was the first release, and that is a solution that no other party in Canada will offer voters.
BC Refed is also working on Fiscal Management reforms for government (all governments) which will reduce the cost of government to taxpayers. We aim to stop this frivolous regard for public trust, and we will begin with our own candidates by setting the example. We don’t simply blow this out as hot air; indeed we challenge other parties to implement the same.