The only surprise from the Legislature’s spending scandal is that a lengthy report by Speaker Darryl Plecas is public and not hidden on a back shelf awaiting years of study.
Were the last government still in power, news of misspending would be secret because culprits and their enablers feared, “We would all wear it”.
That quote could be amusing considering that taxpayers were stuck with the bill when officers went clothes shopping at London’s prestigious and oldest tailors, Ede & Ravenscroft.
More seriously, let’s remember that while Legislative personnel were blithely spending on lavish trips to exotic places, children were being denied special education services and the disabled and other underprivileged citizens of BC were suffering a decade-long freeze in assistance payments.
But, let us not miss the most important point.
This years-long financial scandal would have been impossible if BC had sunshine laws ensuring full transparency of government spending. While I applaud the decision to release Mr. Plecas’ report, I am aware the Horgan Government and its agencies still obstruct FOI requests.
I am also aware that profligacy in management of the Parliament was well known in Victoria. But, it took Darryl Plecas to make it public.
When this story broke in the Legislature, the hands of Government House Leader Mike Farnworth were reported to be shaking. Perhaps he worried about how broad would be the impacts of these outrages, once revealed.
For the same reason that previous scandals have been hushed, an honest examination of public spending might yet be derailed. It would bring a vital institution into disrepute and no politician wants that to happen.