Travel costs drive up expenses

SPENDING is higher for northern Members of the Legislative Assembly because of travel costs, says Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin.

SPENDING is higher for northern Members of the Legislative Assembly because of travel costs, says Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin.

Austin’s $42,733 in expenses, as listed in the 2010/2011 provincial public accounts just released, is on the high end of MLAs.

“I couldn’t even tell you how many trips I’ve made,” Austin explained of trips to Victoria. “But obviously tons, we fly down every Sunday and we come back every Friday.”

He explains that it is his legal obligation to attend legislature in the capital city and that all travel expenses need to be accounted for.

“We don’t get to travel around the province willy nilly, we have to justify it as well,” Austin said.

On addition to travel costs, Austin spent $15,683 on accommodation and other living costs while in Victoria as part of what’s called a capital city living allowance.

Austin said for his first three and a half years as MLA he stayed in a Victoria hotel, but eventually got an apartment in the provincial capital.

MLAs can spend up to $19,000 per year on accommodations in Victoria as well as $61 per day for food.

Austin costs are on par with those of North Coast NDP MLA Gary Coons who racked up $15,673 in living costs and topped Austin’s travel budget slightly with $43,084 spent on travel.

Stikine NDP MLA Doug Donaldson spent the most of the three northwest MLAs – $20,405 on capital city allowance and $44,442 on travel expenses.

“So if you look at it and see that the three of us in the northwest, Gary Coons, myself and Doug Donaldson have substantially higher figures than say [NDP MLA] Jenny Kwan, who lives in the lower mainland,” Austin said.

Total travel costs for all MLAs in B.C. were $1,423,548, capital city allowances added up to $885,801 and salaries came to $9,199,442 which works out to $101,859 per MLA.

MLAs who have additional responsibilities as chairs of legislative committees receive a top up to their salaries. Cabinet ministers make an additional amount on top of their MLA wage.

MLAs received additional monies for offices in their ridings and for employees.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Nicole Halbauer seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding

Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read