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

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Most Read