B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and Premier-designate John Horgan (Black Press)

NDP-Green office ‘misuse of public funds,’ B.C. Liberals say

NDP say they will comply with Comptroller-General’s decision

Premier-designate John Horgan’s new department to manage its relationship between the B.C. NDP and Green Party is a political function that should not be added to public service staff, B.C. Liberal MLA Andrew Wilkinson says.

Wilkinson sent a letter Monday to the Comptroller General’s office, asking for an “urgent opinion” on the “Confidence and Supply Agreement Secretariat,” announced July 11 by Horgan as part of the premier’s office.

“The ‘agreement’ … is the political agreement upon which the incoming NDP minority government’s political survival is predicated, as Mr. Horgan’s NDP caucus alone does not have enough seats to survive a basic confidence motion, having failed to secure a plurality of seats in the recent provincial election,” Wilkinson wrote.

“By placing this so-called Secretariat within the Office of the Premier, this political office would be funded and supported by B.C. Public Service resources…. They are not employed to oversee and support political agreements between parties.”

Wilkinson referred to the public service code of conduct that staff are not to “engage in political activities during working hours” or use government facilities.

NDP spokesperson Jen Holmwood issued the following statement in response to Wilkinson’s letter:

“Our commitment to work with the BC Greens lays the foundation for our new government, and that’s why we’re appointing a small team to support the policy priorities in the Confidence and Supply Agreement. This team will help deliver stable government that works for people, and we will follow any advice from the Comptroller-General to ensure the activities of the office fall within acceptable practices.”

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