LETTERS: Taxpayers deserve better

Letter-writers sound off on provincial politicians who've tried to explain away questionable travel expenses in recent days.


MLA Jenny Kwan didn’t ask her husband where the money came from to go on family vacations to Disneyland, the U.K. and Vienna.

She thought he was paying for the trips personally.

They say there are two types of people in this world: those who like cats and those who like dogs. But I think there are married people who share a bank account and married people who don’t.

I wish my wife had such blind trust in my spending, but she looks over our Visa bill as though Waldo is hiding somewhere on it. I find this odd because she does most of the spending.

My wife and I made the decision to share a bank account without thinking about it. It just happened. Yet my wife’s sisters have separate bank accounts. Some of their expenses are kept secret from their husbands, and some of their husbands’ expenses are kept secret from them.

In my way of thinking, it’s good for couples to budget together. When the left hand in a marriage is not aware of what the right hand is doing, there can be problems.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman says there was no criminal activity at Vancouver’s Portland House Society, where public funds were used for family vacations, business class tickets, limos and spas. In other words, all’s good unless the public knows.

The NDP’s caucus chair, Shane Simpson, defended his political colleague by saying that “Jenny has told us that she is not aware of other trips, and I accept that.”

Well, Jenny’s proven that she is not aware of all that much.

B.C. legislature speaker Linda Reid also claims to be unaware of a lot of things. After she flew her husband to South Africa and put him up in nice digs on the taxpayer’s dime, she declared that she’s not aware of any other such trips for her husband. She added, “If this caused anyone any consternation, I sincerely apologize”.

As the son of a former provincial cabinet minister, I can recall being driven to hockey games and ski hills by my dad’s chauffeur. I know politicians still get the government to pay for daily meals for themselves and ‘business’ friends.

Taxpayers have to stop repeat offenders by not re-electing them.  We have to be vigilant about what people are spending – starting with our spouses.

Jim McMurtry, Surrey

• • •

Speaker of the B.C. legislature Linda Reid claims that $75,000 of taxpayer funds was money well-spent on security upgrades in her constituency office and she is proud of spending another $48,400 on state-of-the-art technology for her spot in the legislative chamber.

And if that isn’t enough, how about a nice, all-expenses-paid holiday for her and her husband to South Africa?

I’m curious, Linda, what is your interpretation of your government’s catchy slogan “Families First”? Did you know that children all over this province show up each day at school not having had breakfast and with no prospect of lunch? They’re part of families, Linda.

Did it not occur to you that perhaps an undernourished child should come first over your personal comforts?

And are we to understand, that every time there is a change in Speaker, we will have to shell out another $75,000 to renovate their constituency office?

When there is a change in Speaker – and I truly hope that is very soon – why doesn’t your successor move into your current office where the investment has already been made? Of course, it will mean he/she will have the inconvenience of a commute, just like hard-working families everywhere.

Why don’t you spend the money that you take from us in the form of taxes on families first and defer these other things on your wish list until your government delivers the bonanza that they claim will be coming from LNG?

I suggest, Linda, that you book an appointment with Christy Clark and ask her to clarify exactly what she means by ‘Families First’.

Marc Burchell, Surrey



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