Wilkinson makes numerous inaccurate statements in attempts to shift blame for legislature spending scandal: NDP

Andrew Wilkinson

THE NDP alleges that BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has been making numerous inaccurate statements to try and shift blame for the legislature spending scandal.

 

* Wilkinson Claim:

“I wasn’t there. The management committee, obviously, has to be accountable for that, and John Horgan was sitting on the management committee at the time and didn’t address it.” (CBC On the Island, Jan 24)

Fact:

In 2012, John Horgan directly raised concerns about the lack of oversight LAMC had over Craig James and Gary Lenz. In response, Bill Barisoff indicated he was responsible for direct oversight of James and Lenz:

John Horgan: “If we don’t manage the Table Officers and the Sergeant-at-Arms — and it’s nothing personal, Gary — who does?”

Speaker Bill Barisoff: “The Speaker.”

John Horgan:

“It would be my recommendation that if we’re going to be responsible as a committee for this precinct and everything that happens in it, we have to have the ability to do that… If we can’t oversee that component, then we’re not able to fulfil our responsibility. So an amendment, if that’s required, would be one that I would support. It jumps off the page to me as something that- we are accountable for your actions, Craig, and your staff, but we have no ability to control that by supervision or management, according to this.”

“I want to make sure that I have the ability if there is incompetence demonstrated or malfeasance that I have an obligation and a responsibility to follow up on — that I can.” (LAMC Meeting, Aug 12, 2012)

In 2013, BC NDP House Leader Shane Simpson said the $660,000 in unusual long service award payouts were not disclosed to LAMC:

“The Legislative Assembly Management Committee should have been informed of these decisions made by the Speaker, but that did not happen.” (Press Release)

* Wilkinson Claim:

“Let’s be clear. Mike de Jong cleaned house, in terms of MLA expenses. There was a lot of resistance from the NDP about disclosing their expenses because it would be about security or it would be a privacy violation.” (CKNW, Jan 28)

“…it was conducted at the time by Mike de Jong, the House Leader, who forced everyone into total disclosure of expenses.” (CBC On the Coast, Jan 24)

 Fact:

The BC NDP caucus began proactively posting expense claims prior to the rest of the Legislature. (Read Shane Simpson’s 2013 letter to LAMC)

MLA travel expense receipts from all parties were not posted online until a year later, in 2014.

* Wilkinson Claim:

“There’s been a very selective disclosure of meetings between Craig James and various people in elected office as Liberals. Craig James as the Clerk his job is to meet with people in the political parties. So he’s met with Mike Farnworth probably 500 times. He will have met with John Horgan many times. You’ll notice that none of those were disclosed. So there’s a bit of selective disclosure going on here.” (KRPI, Jan 25)

Fact:

The Clerk has not met with John Horgan:

“I have been born and raised in Victoria, passionate about this institution, passionate about public service, a member of this place for 14 years, had the honour to be a house leader for the opposition, a leader of the opposition, and now Premier. And in that time, 14 years, Mr. James never visited me. Not in my office, not in my home. He didn’t expense visits to me. He did to Christy Clark when she wasn’t a member of this place. He did visit Mr. Barisoff. So in 14 years, Mr. James or Mr. MacMinn never sought me out, even though I was what would be characterized as an important part of the functioning of the place as an opposition leader and as opposition house leader.” (John Horgan, Jan 24)

* Wilkinson Claim: 

We’ve been asking for 10 weeks for the Auditor General to be involved in this review of the situation at the Legislature. Darryl Plecas obstructed that, the NDP obstructed that, the Green Party obstructed that. It’s hard to say why.” (CHNL, Jan 25)

Fact:

BC NDP House Leader Mike Farnworth moved at LAMC on December 19:

Hon. M. Farnworth: That the committee seek legal advice with respect to the appropriateness and potential scope of either an audit, a forensic audit or an examination under section 13, given the active police investigation, so that any decisions the committee takes will not impede an ongoing, active police investigation.

Motion approved.

Mr. Speaker: It’s unanimous.

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