Serving the citizens of a riding that consumes half of Vancouver Island and a swath of the central coast is not cheap.
It cost B.C. taxpayers $23,897 to cover the travelling expenses of North Island MLA Claire Trevena for the past six months, but the NDP member says the figure reflects the cost of travelling to outlying settlements as well as trips back and forth to Victoria and around the province in her role as the Opposition critic of the Ministry for Children and Family Development.
Trevena says a recent trip to Kingcome Inlet, two and a half hours by boat from Port McNeill, included a $1,100 bill for the water taxi. Last week the North Island MLA was working here in Campbell River on Monday, in Port Hardy on Tuesday, in Alert Bay on Wednesday and on Quadra Island on Thursday.
“People often question MLA expenses and quite rightly so. We need to be transparent,” Trevena told the Mirror after the provincial government released the travel expenses of all MLAs. The release of the information is the result of a scathing report on legislature accounting by Auditor-General John Doyle. In his report Doyle said Legislature accounting was so chaotic that it was impossible to tell if money was being well spent.
Trevena’s expenses are more than many of her colleagues and much less than some.
The biggest spender was NDP MLA Robin Austin (Skeena) who billed $53,606 followed by Speaker of the Legislature Bill Barisoff (Penticton) whose expenses were $46,410.
At the bottom end was Independent MLA Vicki Huntington (Delta South) at $7,739. Others include: Leonard Krog (NDP – Nanaimo) $15,118, Donna Barnett (Lib – Caribou-Chilcotin) $27,732, Mike Farnworth (NDP – Port Coquitlam) $16,767, Pat Pimm (Lib – Peace River North) $37,179 and Katrine Conroy (NDP – Kootenay West) $30,482.