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Clearing the Air — MLA Travel Expenses

As promised, I have been posting my office expenses (both for the constituency and legislature offices) quarterly on the front page of my website since I was elected. In fact, I have been posting my travel expenses there as well.  Recently there has been some media attention concerning “Accompanying Person” travel expenses.

MLAs are allowed 12 Accompanying Person trips per year. The policy is quite clear as to what constitutes an accompanying person.

To qualify for official party status in the legislature, a party needs to elect four MLAs. As the only elected BC Green Party MLA, I am formally considered an Independent in the Legislature. I am afforded a legislative budget that allows me to employ two full time and one half-time staff person. These staff are critical in terms of assisting an MLA fulfill his or her duties.

As noted by the CBC (see * below), my Accompanying Person travel was $4,053 last year. For those interested, my expenses as already listed on my website were $1092.00 during the first and second quarter and $2961.00 during the third quarter of 2013. All accompanying person travel was for my legislative assistants.

Trips 1 and 2:

Two legislative assistants accompanied me to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities 2013 Convention in Vancouver during September 2013.

Trip 3:

A legislative assistant accompanied me to the 2013 BC Energy Conference in Fort St. John during October 2013. We also toured the Farrell Creek fracking site, the Peace River Valley and the proposed Site C dam location. We also met with a variety of local officials and community leaders.

Trip 4:

A legislative assistant accompanied me to the 2013 Clean Energy BC conference in Vancouver in October 2013. There we had a  number of meetings and I gave the closing plenary.

Trip 5:

A legislative assistant accompanied me on a visit to Prince Rupert and Kitimat in December 2013. The purpose of this trip was to meet with local mayors, LNG proponents, other industry and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

 

 

* The initial version of the CBC story incorrectly indicated spending under the Accompanying Person Travel Expenses category was limited to trips taken by MLAs’ spouses. In fact, MLA spending under that category can be used for staff travel as well

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