MLAs defend housing stipend

Local MLAs insist housing allowances aren’t being abused.

Local MLAs insist housing allowances aren’t being abused.

Linda Reid, speaker of the Legislature, will review B.C.’s MLAs possibly receiving $1.1 million in allowances for accommodations in Victoria this year although the House is not sitting this fall.

“There was a five-week sitting in July and that’s never happened before,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA.

Foster also points out that MLAs are frequently in the capital for caucus and committee meetings.

“I am in Victoria two nights this week, two nights next week and three on the following week,” said Foster, who rents an apartment there.

Greg Kyllo, Shuswap MLA, also stands by the current funding structure.

‘“We’re spending a lot of time there,” he said.

“I sit on six different committees and I am spending on average, three days a week on the road to Victoria or Vancouver.”

Reid has also indicated she will review the policy that permits non-Victoria MLAs to claim up to $1,000 a month in housing expenses without submitting a receipt.

Foster doesn’t believe a change in the rules is required.

“We’re making more work out of something. Some will have to process that (receipts),” he said.

Foster doubts anyone is using the money for items other than housing, whether it is staying at a hotel, renting an apartment or purchasing a home.

“What will someone do, sleep in their car?” he said.

“You have to stay somewhere. I’m not sure when you’ve been to Victoria lately, but there’s nothing cheap to stay in.”

Besides claiming $1,000 a month without a receipt, MLAs can also submit receipts for up to $1,580 monthly for housing or they can hand in receipts for hotel rooms to a maximum of $1,416 a month.

“It’s not extravagant,” said Kyllo, who is staying in hotels while in Victoria.

Foster admits he is frustrated with the media focus on the Legislature not sitting during the fall when he and other MLAs are busy with a range of activities.

“People have a misconception that we’re all at the golf course if we’re not in Victoria which is ridiculous,” he said while at a budget session in Kamloops.



Just Posted

Coldstream celebrates spring with Easter egg hunt

The family-friendly event takes place Mackie Lake House Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m.

Vernon woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

Vipers win pivotal game 5 to take 3-2 series lead

Vipers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters by a score of 5-2 and will look to end the series Saturday night in Trail at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre. Contributed: Vernon Vipers Staff

None injured in small fire near Lumby

“It looks like it was accidental, definitely nothing suspicious.”

Vernon road closed again following landslide

The road that was reopened Thursday morning was closed again Friday following geotechnical engineer report.

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read