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.