Re: Time for some third-party involvement (Letters, NewsLeader, Aug. 8)
I agree with Burnaby North BC Conservative riding president Ariane Eckardt when she states that MLAs who play “loosey-goosey with their expenses and other monies should have the public enraged.”
However, she seems unaware of the fact her party’s sole MLA in the B.C. Legislature, John van Dongen, is possibly the most egregious offender when it comes to playing “loosey-goosey” with the $119,000 annual allowance each provincial MLA is given to run their constituency office.
Out of that $119,000 annual allowance, van Dongen pays his constituency assistant $78,000 a year, which is far above the norm and caused jaws to drop when it was publicly revealed a couple of months ago.
Even more egregious is the fact that van Dongen has thumbed his nose at the Legislature rules which prohibit constituency office staff from being a close relative of the MLA.
As is widely known, van Dongen has been living in a common-law relationship with his constituency assistant for a number of years.
Given these facts, Ms. Eckardt needs to be reminded that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. And if she wants to talk about the “integrity” of her party leader, John Cummins, then perhaps she should ask why he seems to have forgotten his belief that a politician who crosses the Legislature floor should first resign their seat and run in a byelection.