Liberals accuse NDP government of using constituency assistants for partisan work

By James Peters
November 8, 2018 - 11:15am

VICTORIA — B.C.'s official opposition is accusing the NDP government of blurring the lines between the work of partisan political staffers and non-partisan government aides.

In question period today, several B.C. Liberal MLAs rose to read from emails they say prove the government does not know the difference between party work and government tasks.

Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar read from one email between Premier John Horgan's chief of staff Geoff Meggs and Layne Clark, Horgan's director of liaison and coordination.

"I quote, 'Meetings would include all political staff, [Government Communications and Public Engagement] and constituency assistants,' end quote - both of whom are supposed to be non-partisan," said Milobar.

"Does the deputy premier really consider constituency assistants and government communications employees political staff?" asked Milobar.

Citizens Services Minister Jinny Sims pledged several times to look into the matter.

"We are distinguishing between political staff and the case work of non-partisan constituency assistants," answered Sims.

Milobar countered that he looked forward to receiving a real answer from Sims, saying the NDP government's behaviour represents a pattern of not adhering to the rules.

"Constituency offices exist to serve the public in a non-partisan way; they do not exist for the premier and his party," charged Milobar.

Sims said the government won't apologize for improving transparency and accountability.

"We're going to take no lessons from [the B.C. Liberals] after their dismal record for 16 long, long years," said Sims.

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