PAUL WILLCOCKS: B. C. Liberal Healthy Living Minister Ida ‘Chong… is paid $152,000 annually’

Liberal MLA Ida Chong offered explanations for claiming almost $6,000 worth of food expenses last year that were, at best, disappointing.

The rules allow all MLAs to claim $61 a day for meals when the legislature is sitting or they are in Victoria or Vancouver on official government business.

Chong, who lives 10 kilometres from the legislature, filed claims equivalent to 98 days, although the legislature only sat for 60 days.

Cabinet  meetings, Treasury Board and other commitments  also allowed her to claim the per diem, she said.

(MLAs from outside the capital can also claim up to $19,000 a year to rent or buy a home in Victoria.)

Chong said she was following the rules, which is true.

And MLAs have always made these kinds of claims, she said.

That’s less true.

Cabinet colleague Murray Coell, for example, claimed only $1,321 for meals last year.

Most people who travel on business are reimbursed for expenses.

But few companies allow emplyees to submit meal claims when they are working in their own hometowns, as Chong is doing.

And at a time when government is cutting important programs to save money, we would have expected Chong – who like other cabinet ministers is paid $152,000 annually – to show restraint and better judgement.

The second batch of bad news came from the NDP.

Chong suggested New Democrat MLAs from the capital region have similar meal claims.

Only cabinet ministers’ claims are reported publicly.

So Times Colonist reporter Rob Shaw asked the New Democrats about capital city allowance claims made by the party’s MLAs.

We don’t track that information and don’t plan to find out, said a caucus spokesman.

So much for openness and accountability.

MLAs aren’t hard done by.

They have increased their base pay by about 34 per cent in the last five years, with larger jumps for ministers and the premier, plus a giant pension improvement.

The average weekly wage of British Columbians has increased by about 12 per cent in the same period…

CCC BLOG reprint:

Chong’s meals and other woes

Victoria Times Colonist:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Page A12





6 Responses to PAUL WILLCOCKS: B. C. Liberal Healthy Living Minister Ida ‘Chong… is paid $152,000 annually’

  1. Linda says:

    $61.00 per day, meal expenses? That is more than, many citizens, have to spend for a, months groceries. I watched, the Federal House on TV. I saw a motion passed, by the entire house. They gave, banks, large corporations, gas and oil companies, millions of our tax dollars. They also got, huge tax reductions, and now the HST. Governing bodies with, giant salary’s, and, stupendous pensions? How does the little guy pay for all that corruption? Nine months out of a years wages, goes to taxes, so you only have 3 months, to pay a mortgage or rent, food, utilities, car payments, clothes, shoes, dentist, glasses, and much, much more. So someone like Campbell and Hansen, who has caused BC to be in debt, in the billions, adds the burden of the provincial taxes, and the HST, onto citizens, who already don’t have enough money to live on. So, people are being evicted, having their utilities shut off, losing their homes and vehicles. Mean while, our governing bodies, are stealing citizens blind. Corruption, has been the downfall, of many countries. Canada is stagnant, and, now has started regressing. BC is a total write off, in the billions of debt, because of Campbell and Hansen. The life saver, is the underground.

    • Ted says:

      yes, sad to say, I found it necessary to do that once, and I could not believe how much money I saved, and the quality of work was amazing, I am not surprised most people are going underground, Not to avoid taxes, but just to survive.

      Trouble is its a vicious circle, taxes go up, underground grows, government revenues
      go down, and taxes go up and underground grows more, its an never ending cycle and I
      strongly believe we are at that point now where we are taxed to the max both on income tax and consumption tax that we have nowhere else to turn.

      But when I see the Government politicians, and their salaries/perks/ and pensions/ I see nothing but anger in the public perception of them.

  2. albe says:

    thanks , i think you mean 12 per cent increase for the average, many take home less and their meagre funds are difficult to obtain necessities when the high income Ida C. and that ilk can up the price without worry, sans souci, but how many times the average income must the MLA’s and add in the pension. That would enlightened me and others. But thanks for the info.

    • Ted says:

      I dont think you really want to know really how much total she makes or will make,
      it will just anger you more.

      She is first to be recalled, so she will be gone in a few months, its a start, we need to start weeding out these people, and as fast as we can if at all possible.

      In Ontario we have no recall, and McGinty government rammed it through, also the auditor general just slammed the McGinty government over expenses/wasted money/and ongoing problems/ what is amazing the economy in Ontario has “tanked” but the Ontario government is spending like a drunken fool.

  3. goyodelarosa says:

    Thanks for commenting and pointing out the typo, albe.

    Gregory Hartnell (‘Goyo de la Rosa’), Editor

  4. goyodelarosa says:

    The recall of Ida Chong begins today in Oak Bay Gordon Head, and it is not a moment too soon.

    This minister has been one of the more obnoxious of the BC Liberals, and should go down without much difficulty.

    Her quick downfall will no doubt inspire recall campaigns in other BC communities.

    The BC Liberals will have to rescind the HST before the next election, or have one forced on them before 2013, because all the FIGHT HST people have to do is to take down seven or so of these hold-outs, and that is the end of the show, folks!

    Thanks for all the above comments.

    Gregory Hartnell, President
    Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

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