Minister should resign over Kwantlen payments: NDP

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk violated spending rules as a university board member in 2010-12

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk violated spending rules as a university board member in 2010-12 and he should not be allowed to continue as the cabinet minister responsible for enforcing those rules, NDP leader John Horgan said Wednesday.

Horgan was commenting on the findings of an investigation into the hiring of two senior executives of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Virk should resign from cabinet or be fired by Premier Christy Clark, Horgan said.

The review found that extra “consulting fees” of $50,000 paid to Kwantlen president Alan Davis and former vice-president Anne Lavack were not reported as part of their compensation, and were paid separately to get around compensation limits when they were being hired.

Horgan said Virk, an RCMP inspector in Langley before running in the 2013 B.C. election, knows he broke the rules.

“He signed off on a contract for $50,000 with no deliverables to that institution as a pre-employment contract, violating the rules that he was sworn to uphold as the person responsible to that institution,” Horgan said.

Virk spoke to reporters Tuesday when the report from assistant deputy minister Rob Mingay was released. He called it “a humbling moment” and said that he was not properly informed on the financial reporting rules for hiring university executives at the time. Virk vowed to make sure current directors of public institutions are properly trained.

“In some ways I almost feel a little bit let down that I didn’t have the fullest information at my hand, or the fullest of training as a volunteer board member,” Virk said.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong ordered the review after the extra payments were raised in the B.C. legislature by NDP advanced education critic David Eby. The results are “troubling,” de Jong said when the report was released.

The government’s Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) set salary ranges for Levack’s position at $125,000 to $175,000. When Levack was hired in 2011, she received the maximum salary, plus a $20,000-a-year research allowance and a $50,000 “consulting fee” before starting work that was not reported to PSEC.

In the case of Davis, a Kwantlen official’s 2011 email that was copied to Virk inquires about paying the new president an extra $100,000 above PSEC guidelines, from the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Foundation.

In a later email, Virk writes “our advice at present is to hold off as the risk factors are very high.”

A $50,000 consulting fee was later given to Davis, in addition to his $225,000 salary and $35,000 to relocate from New York state.

 

Just Posted

Handmade for Hope proposal at Orca Place denied by council

Motion carried to allow use of the former temporary shelter space as exercise room instead

Ballenas Whalers advance to junior varsity Subway Bowl title game

Parksville squad will play for provincial high school football crown

Language showcase at Qualicum Beach Museum

2019 is the year of Indigenous languages

Big Hearts to descend on the Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive

Annual event takes place Nov. 27 in Parksville

VIDEO: UBC exchange students offered $1,000 to help with leaving Hong Kong

The university said 31 of its students were attending four universities in Hong Kong

Victim of downtown Courtenay assault dies from injuries

Person of interest identified by RCMP

‘Actors can play any roles’: Debate over ‘colour-blind’ casting after Victoria lawsuit

Tenyjah Indra McKenna filed a complaint over racially-motivated casting

Infants more vulnerable to measles than previously thought: Canadian study

Babies typically don’t receive the measles vaccine until they are 12 months old

Shatner, Obomsawin among 39 inductees to Order of Canada today

Shatner is being given one of Canada’s highest civilian honours for his 60-year career

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

Teacher tells B.C. Supreme Court that student was ‘happy’ to watch smudging ceremony in classroom

Case being heard in Nanaimo over indigenous cultural practice in Port Alberni classroom

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

Most Read