MLAs with ‘inappropriate’ expenses should repay money says B.C. Liberal leader

Times Colonist


B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said any member of the legislature found to be filing improper expenses should pay the money back.

Andrew Wilkinson gestures while addressing supporters and party members after being elected leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday February 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

He made the comments Thursday when asked if he has confidence in Liberal MLA Linda Reid (Richmond South Centre), who has been implicated in Speaker Darryl Plecas’s report into flagrant overspending at the legislative assembly.

Plecas’s report says a whistleblower was fired for raising concerns about double-dipping by an MLA who allegedly filed both mileage claims and taxi expenses for the same trip. Former legislative assistant Connor Gibson told Global News that he was asked by Reid to file what he felt were inappropriate expenses.

Clerk of the legislature Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz, who have been suspended, are also alleged to have quashed an investigation into the expenses.

“I understand there’s been some controversy about parking and taxi fares that needs to be sorted out promptly by the auditor general of British Columbia,” Wilkinson said. “And if there’s been any inappropriate or duplicate payments, they need to be paid back.”

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver on Wednesday called for Reid to resign as assistant deputy Speaker, saying it’s impossible to regain public trust when she still holds a position of power and oversight in the legislature.

Wilkinson did not directly answer questions about whether Reid should step aside, saying issues will be sorted out when the auditor general conducts a forensic audit of the legislature. “It remains to be seen what issues are going to be resolved and how they’re going to be sorted out.

“And once those are clarified by the auditor general, obviously, steps may be taken to require repayments if those are appropriate or to clarify people’s roles.”