Our View: Expenses list good first step

Travelling the province is an integral part of an MLA’s job in B.C. We get that.

But when the travel expenses of a minister who lives in the same town as the legislature are third-highest of any government cabinet member – Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong – it causes us to raise our eyebrows.

Travelling the province is an integral part of an MLA’s job in B.C. We get that.

But when the travel expenses of a minister who lives in the same town as the legislature are third-highest of any government cabinet member – Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong – it causes us to raise our eyebrows.

The expense information on Chong and other ministers was available – if you knew where to look – prior to the Liberal government’s introduction last week of its DataBC website. But it took the government’s example, that similar information for all B.C. MLAs can now readily be found by the public, for us to take more notice of the minister spending.

We appreciate the increased transparency on MLA spending and believe the move is a step in the right direction. While the bills chalked up by other Capital Region politicians in their duties as MLAs didn’t cause us to stand up and take notice, the fact that we can all now access such information is a better public service.

It’s important also that the transparency be taken further. Our province still lags behind other provinces in terms of availability of receipts and other more detailed expense listings.

Since there is no real watchdog in B.C. for appropriate expenditures by elected representatives, it’s up to the public to keep watch on such things.

And it’s also up to the public and taxpayer lobby groups to keep up the pressure on government to open up the accounts to more public scrutiny.

The perception of secrecy in government is one of the key ingredients in a denigration of trust in government. Moving to make the accounting by elected individuals, as well as government as a whole, more transparency is the surest way to gain favour with the electorate. That’s something current and future administrations in B.C. may wish to take a closer look at as they head toward election time.

Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

With local high schoolers unable to have a traditional graduation ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, Amica Douglas House celebrated the momentous occasion of eight of their dining room servers. (Courtesy Amica Douglas House)
8 Greater Victoria teens don fancy dresses, celebrate grad with seniors

With celebrations nixed, Amica Douglas House hosts event for its serving staff

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read