NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – After months of defending a controversial $50,000 salary top-up by the BC Liberals, Premier Christy Clark made the stunning announcement last Friday that she would no longer be taking it.
She says her party will instead move to a new system where she will ask to be reimbursed for her individual expenses.
Despite her effort to move on from this controversial issue at a news conference in North Vancouver today, there are still a lot of questions that linger. “I don’t really have anything to add to what I said Friday and what I’ve just said here. It was a distraction. I think what British Columbians care about is jobs.”
She was peppered with questions about the stipend but wouldn’t reveal what kind of things she would like reimbursed in the future. “I don’t know what expenses yet but I’m sure it will certainly be less.”
Just a couple of months away from the next provincial election, Clark adds that she thinks voters prefer the BC Liberals’ approach to party fundraising, over the BC NDP.
“There are two ways to do political fundraising. One is to have people choose to donate through the system we have now and one is the one that the NDP proposes, which is to have taxpayers forced to pay for political parties. Neither of them are perfect but I think the one the NDP has chosen is something British Columbians would like a lot less,” adds Clark.
The BC Liberals confirmed last spring that Clark is paid up to $50,000 per year for party work on top of her $195,000 annual salary.
The stipend formed part of two conflict of interest complaints filed against Clark last year by an opposition member of the legislature and a citizen advocacy group.
The province’s conflict of interest commissioner later cleared the premier of wrongdoing, saying the money was a political benefit and not a personal one.