Former Chilliwack MLA John Les

Premier axes ex-MLA’s earthquake contract

Premier Christy Clark moved quickly Wednesday to end criticism over a $140,000 contract to former Chilliwack politician John Les

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday she didn’t hear about former Chilliwack MLA John Les’ appointment until it was announced, and the deal is off.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton’s announcement Tuesday that Les would be paid up to $140,000 to lead an eight-month consultation on earthquake preparedness was greeted by a storm of controversy.

NDP critics questioned whether Les’ experience as a mayor and solicitor general was relevant to the province-wide project he was to chair. The vice-chair, former director of California’s Office of Emergency Services Henry Renteria, is to be paid up to $100,000.

Clark moved quickly to blunt the opposition attack Wednesday, announcing at the start of question period that the contract with Les has been withdrawn.

“It was a mistake,” Clark told reporters later. “I think the essence of leadership is not just making decisions, it’s also being able to course correct when you’ve made a mistake, and that’s what she [Anton] has done.”

Anton said she discussed the issue with Clark Wednesday morning, and they agreed the expenditure for Les’ services was too high.

The sudden reversal came as the appointment was being questioned by Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore, who said it is inappropriate for Les to take the job while lobbying for the company that operates the Cache Creek landfill.

Les has been a vocal opponent of Metro’s garbage incineration strategy and has lobbied Environment Minister Mary Polak to reject Metro’s new waste disposal bylaw that would end the practice of hauling garbage to cheaper landfills outside the Lower Mainland.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Moore said Wednesday. “To now be representing government to work with us when he’s been so opposed to so much we’ve done – I don’t see how it can actually happen.”

Les, who retired last year after 12 years as MLA, already has a three-year contract to chair the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board, which pays $60,000 a year.

Anton had argued that Les had unique experience as a former mayor and head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as a former solicitor general in charge of B.C.’s emergency management program.

 

Just Posted

Harrison Festival fundraiser dance to have ’70s theme and features Chilliwack band

Chilliwack band The Vacationers to perform at May 31 Harrison Festival Society’s fundraising concert

Seabird Island opens 50th annual festival

The weekend festival will see First Nations teams compete in soccer, three-pitch and canoe races

Lofty plans for Chilliwack school district revealed

Chilliwack school district draws up plan to add 2,900 student seats in five years

Agassiz study to look at drone use for pesticide application

The study will be the first in Canada to use drones to apply pesticides to farm fields

Chilliwack’s pediatric observation unit gets financial shot from trades workers

Unions and contractors donate more than $30,000 to Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Semis catch fire at wrecker off Highway 1 in west Abbotsford

Crews called to scene at around 2 p.m., finding up to six semis that had caught fire at the wrecker

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Most Read