Budget & Estimate Disasters

Oppal inquiry: costly and unaccountable

To June 2012, Britain’s Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press had cost $6.2 million CAN. In a commission British citizens thought was unbounded and never-ending, Lord Leveson examined relations of power between the press and the public, politicians and police. According to The Economist, Leveson uncovered excruciating detail of how press reporters and agents bullied, stole and cheated with impunity, with the assistance of politicians.

The Brits were lucky. Had BC’s former Attorney General had his way with that commission, it might have cost $50 million.

Unlike Wally Oppal’s benefice in British Columbia, the Leveson Inquiry published detailed financial records and made them available online to anyone.

Instead, in British Columbia, we got scattered detail and obfuscation.

British Columbia’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry publishes no financial report but press reports claim Oppal’s sinecure cost more than $8 million. Public Accounts for the year ended March 2012 provide no segregated detail of the inquiry but we can extract information about individuals.

For example, commission counsel Art Vertlieb received $483,731 in the year ended March 2012 and started the new fiscal year at a monthly pace of $50,000. Jessica McKeachie, a newly qualified lawyer billed over $200,000, despite working less than the full year. Another legal novice, according to Brian Hutchinson of the National Post, billed even more than McKeachie in fiscal 2012.

We’re left to wonder if administrator John Boddie continued to bill more than $30,000 a month for the time he was suspended after allegations of sexist behaviour among commission staff.

We can speculate why these people fail to publish financial detail and we can speculate why they refused funding  to representatives of victims’ families. I will speculate.

They had their eyes on the prize and no intention of sharing the lovely lolly.

Categories: Budget & Estimate Disasters

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8 replies »

  1. This kind of corrupt cronyism must come out now. The taxpayers want honesty in politics and government, not this sort of alternate reality. The NDP needs to prosecute some of these individuals, or else it just means it's OK behaviour.


  2. Attawapiskat is getting heat over their poor accounting, with big gaps in paperwork — but MLA/MP expense accounts could also use the same light shone on them, to keep things on the up-and-up.


  3. It appears to be one big slush fund that the Liebrels can tap into for the upcoming election, if indeed we do have one.??
    Christy and the boys will hang on as long as they can to loot as much as they can until they are kicked from office.

    Keep hanging in there Norm, I check in almost every day to see whats happening.
    Thanks for all you do.


  4. You might be right. I have reports from four different sources saying that people doing business with the province must make kick-backs to friends of the BC Liberals who control their contracts.

    Are Oppal's people also kicking back money to the people behind their appointments?

    A government that governs without ethics employs people without ethics.

    The public pays.


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