Minister should resign over Kwantlen payments: NDP

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk violated spending rules as a university board member in 2010-12

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk violated spending rules as a university board member in 2010-12 and he should not be allowed to continue as the cabinet minister responsible for enforcing those rules, NDP leader John Horgan said Wednesday.

Horgan was commenting on the findings of an investigation into the hiring of two senior executives of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Virk should resign from cabinet or be fired by Premier Christy Clark, Horgan said.

The review found that extra “consulting fees” of $50,000 paid to Kwantlen president Alan Davis and former vice-president Anne Lavack were not reported as part of their compensation, and were paid separately to get around compensation limits when they were being hired.

Horgan said Virk, an RCMP inspector in Langley before running in the 2013 B.C. election, knows he broke the rules.

“He signed off on a contract for $50,000 with no deliverables to that institution as a pre-employment contract, violating the rules that he was sworn to uphold as the person responsible to that institution,” Horgan said.

Virk spoke to reporters Tuesday when the report from assistant deputy minister Rob Mingay was released. He called it “a humbling moment” and said that he was not properly informed on the financial reporting rules for hiring university executives at the time. Virk vowed to make sure current directors of public institutions are properly trained.

“In some ways I almost feel a little bit let down that I didn’t have the fullest information at my hand, or the fullest of training as a volunteer board member,” Virk said.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong ordered the review after the extra payments were raised in the B.C. legislature by NDP advanced education critic David Eby. The results are “troubling,” de Jong said when the report was released.

The government’s Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) set salary ranges for Levack’s position at $125,000 to $175,000. When Levack was hired in 2011, she received the maximum salary, plus a $20,000-a-year research allowance and a $50,000 “consulting fee” before starting work that was not reported to PSEC.

In the case of Davis, a Kwantlen official’s 2011 email that was copied to Virk inquires about paying the new president an extra $100,000 above PSEC guidelines, from the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Foundation.

In a later email, Virk writes “our advice at present is to hold off as the risk factors are very high.”

A $50,000 consulting fee was later given to Davis, in addition to his $225,000 salary and $35,000 to relocate from New York state.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Salmon begin spawning in Hope’s Thacker Park

Countless chum salmon making way upstream for annual event

Name Manning’s new quad chair, win a season’s pass

Lift replacement among long list of upgrades at popular ski resort

Chilliwack-Hope incumbent Conservative sums up Andrew Scheer’s election promises so far

Strahl says his party’s tax credit promises designed to put more money in the pockets of Canadians

Rainbow crosswalk plan gets council support in Hope

Council writing letter of support to community group for crosswalk project

UPDATE: Highway now open after several hour closure at Herrling Island

Westbound traffic is stopped, and some cars have been seen driving the wrong way on the highway

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

Unionized workers launch ‘open-ended strike’ at three Vancouver hotels

Workers at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront walked out

B.C. MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud, breach of trust

Charges announced Sept. 19 more than two years after Martin fired Desmond Devnich for alleged thefts

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

RCMP seize $1.9 million in B.C. traffic stop

The driver and passenger were detained under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

‘Troubling, insulting’: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats, responded with a call for love after Trudeau photos surface

Elderly B.C. man gets 10 years in prison for sexually abusing young daughters

WARNING: This story contains graphic details and is not appropriate for all readers

Most Read