Food fight at the Legislature
A Private members bill introduced in the legislature by an interior BC Liberal MLA aims to stop Greater Victoria MLAs from claiming the lunch allowance while working in the capital city.
Peter Milobar is the MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson. He reasons if Greater Victoria MLAs aren't eligible for the housing allowance because they live close to the Legislature, they also should not be allowed to claim up to $61 a day for meals:
"Minister Popham doesn't claim, so obviously it is possible for people to come to work and provide their own meals just like everyone else who works in the legislative building and works in Victoria does."
The Liberals say since September Education Minister Rob Fleming has collected $1,462.50, Finance Minister Carole James has claimed $1,587, and Premier John Horgan has $1,684.50 in meal money.
Milobar admits the dollars involved aren't huge, but says most BC residents can relate to having to take their lunch to work to save money.
There are currently no Liberal MLAs in this region, and Milobar's bill would only apply to NDP and Green MLAs living in the Greater Victoria area. However when Liberal Ida Chong had her seat in Oak Bay-Gordon Head she was criticized for the same thing.
Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, the current member for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, has claimed $1,221 in per diems. He calls the move "cynical" pointing out MLAs work long hours and often have to miss meals. He adds many Liberal MLAs have bought condos in the area to use while in session, but they're still claiming the per diem, when they have a kitchen and can pack a lunch if they want.