VANCOUVER – The BC NDP are supporting their activist friends in the upcoming municipal elections and taxpayers are footing the bill.
BC NDP MLA Bowinn Ma has hosted three meetings with political activist group Force of Nature in her North Vancouver-Lonsdale constituency office. The group, which includes Sven Biggs – who attended the Bowen Island strategy meeting with Environment Minister George Heyman – is focused on influencing who sits on local councils.
“This is simply outrageous and a serious misuse of taxpayer money,” says Richmond-Queensborough MLA Jas Johal. “This isn’t just a little step across the line. The NDP are trying to influence who gets elected to city councils and are billing it as a government expense. That’s wrong and shows how far the NDP is willing to go to achieve its activist agenda.”
“Constituency offices are expected to be, and must be, non-partisan,” says Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier. “It’s clear the BC NDP don’t support environmentally-responsible development of our natural resources, but to use taxpayer money to support a group that wants to impact the municipal election is a new low point, even for them.”
The MLA Handbook is clear on how constituency funds legally can and cannot be used:
“Constituency offices are designed to encourage communication between the Member and all constituents, and therefore the office must be operated on a strictly non-partisan basis and cannot be used to engage in or host partisan, political activities.”
“This is the latest example of how the BC NDP believe it is their job to be activists, instead of focusing on governing,” says Johal. “Municipal leaders are gathering in Whistler this week and will hear a lot of platitudes from government about how they have to work together. At the same time, Bowinn Ma and the NDP are actively working to make sure only their hand-picked candidates get elected while taxpayers get to foot the bill.”
Ms. Ma also released a statement on the issue:
I'm grateful that activities by a third party user of my Community Office in @richardzussman's recent article titled, "BC Liberals accuse NDP MLA of misusing publicly funded office" were brought to my attention. Here is my statement on it. #NorthVan #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/Pogj98xxRs
— Bowinn Ma (@BowinnMa) September 10, 2018