Former Chilliwack MLA John Les

Premier axes ex-MLA’s earthquake contract

Premier Christy Clark moved quickly Wednesday to end criticism over a $140,000 contract to former Chilliwack politician John Les

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday she didn’t hear about former Chilliwack MLA John Les’ appointment until it was announced, and the deal is off.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton’s announcement Tuesday that Les would be paid up to $140,000 to lead an eight-month consultation on earthquake preparedness was greeted by a storm of controversy.

NDP critics questioned whether Les’ experience as a mayor and solicitor general was relevant to the province-wide project he was to chair. The vice-chair, former director of California’s Office of Emergency Services Henry Renteria, is to be paid up to $100,000.

Clark moved quickly to blunt the opposition attack Wednesday, announcing at the start of question period that the contract with Les has been withdrawn.

“It was a mistake,” Clark told reporters later. “I think the essence of leadership is not just making decisions, it’s also being able to course correct when you’ve made a mistake, and that’s what she [Anton] has done.”

Anton said she discussed the issue with Clark Wednesday morning, and they agreed the expenditure for Les’ services was too high.

The sudden reversal came as the appointment was being questioned by Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore, who said it is inappropriate for Les to take the job while lobbying for the company that operates the Cache Creek landfill.

Les has been a vocal opponent of Metro’s garbage incineration strategy and has lobbied Environment Minister Mary Polak to reject Metro’s new waste disposal bylaw that would end the practice of hauling garbage to cheaper landfills outside the Lower Mainland.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Moore said Wednesday. “To now be representing government to work with us when he’s been so opposed to so much we’ve done – I don’t see how it can actually happen.”

Les, who retired last year after 12 years as MLA, already has a three-year contract to chair the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board, which pays $60,000 a year.

Anton had argued that Les had unique experience as a former mayor and head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as a former solicitor general in charge of B.C.’s emergency management program.

 

Just Posted

$3.5M all-season turf field planned for Qualicum Beach

Town seeks grant for community playing surface upgrades

Car theft suspect arrested in Coombs

Vehicle and two motorcyles recovered on Jan. 16

Qualicum Beach council big on support for multi-use cinema proposal

Society asks for 10,000 square feet, gets recommendation to consider with strategic plan

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

First Nations take over off-reserve family services in mid-Island region

Kw’umut Lelum hosts grand opening of new Nanaimo office

Most Read