By John Horgan
BC NDP Leader
VICTORIA – It’s a good time to be a friend of Christy Clark. If you fall within that exclusive circle, maybe you enjoyed a tax break last year – the tax break granted to the top 2 per cent of income earners in the province. Or maybe you’re one of the current or former political staffers who’ve run into some trouble, but are getting your legal bills paid for.
Unfortunately, the majority of British Columbians aren’t in the premier’s inner circle. But average British Columbians are the ones stuck with the bill for the non-stop party for Christy Clark’s friends and insiders.
For the majority of British Columbians, life in this province just keeps getting harder, and the premier is doing nothing to help. She doesn’t even seem to notice.
Christy Clark and her government are making life for most British Columbians more expensive all the time. Adding to the burden of rising food costs and staggering housing costs, particularly in the Lower Mainland, people in this province face rising MSP premiums, ICBC rates, ferry fares, and hydro rates.
And the premier is shovelling that money right back out the door in the form of tax breaks for people who don’t need them, and legal protection for political staffers.
Just how much of our money is going towards the legal bills for her friends and colleagues? Incredibly, we don’t know.
We asked, and here’s what the government was willing to share with us, and with the public: 202 blank pages.
Government documents showed that B.C. taxpayers have been fronting the legal bills for at least six current and former employees in connection with the Quick Wins scandal and the ongoing criminal investigation by Special Prosecutor David Butcher.
But when we filed a Freedom of Information request asking for records about indemnities granted to eight individuals, those 202 blank pages were all the information the government was willing to share.
And that was a relatively forthcoming response.
When we asked about similar records for four other political staffers, all we received was a government response that it “neither confirms nor denies the existence of the records [you have] requested.”
Christy Clark’s government has so little regard for you and the money you rely on to keep the lights on and put food on the table, she doesn’t feel you have the right to know how much of that money she is spending on her friends and their legal troubles.
To this government, your money is Christy Clark’s money.
But it’s a one-way street. Because when it comes to the challenges facing you and your family – the fees, taxes, housing costs and food costs that are nibbling away at your paycheques – the premier isn’t there to bail you out.