Lali releases travel expenses
Figures released recently by the B.C. government indicate that Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali has some of the highest travel expenses in the province.
As a New Democrat, Lali’s bill is the biggest on the Opposition bench at just over $58,000, while Prince George-Makenzie MLA and Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell had the highest travel expenses at more than $68,000.
“Pat Bell and Harry Lali are the hardest working MLA’s in B.C.,” joked Lali last week.
Lali defended the costs saying that he has made a commitment to represent his constituents and that the Fraser-Nicola riding is one of the largest in the province. Also as one of the longest standing NDP MLA’s he receives many requests to attend meetings.
“Most importantly, I’m the only NDP MLA in the entire Thompson-Cariboo with almost 30 Liberal MLAs in the region,” said Lali. “I do the opposition outreach in all of the communities here and I work hard to represent the official opposition.”
He also mentioned that travel to most places in B.C. requires a change over at the Vancouver International Airport.
Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm and Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson followed Lali’s travel bill closely with figures of just over $56,000 and $49,000 respectively.
The figures released by the province’s public accounts committee show the MLAs’ compensation up to March 31 and give British Columbians the chance to see just how much their members are costing them. In past years only ministers’ expenses were released.
The 85 elected members of B.C. legislative assembly cost tax payers a total of $14 million last year including salaries, travel and other expenses. Together the MLA’s racked up a total of $2.5 million on business travel last year to perform their jobs.