Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger says he would not have supported a “recall allowance” secretly passed by an all-party committee to soften the fall for recalled MLAs.
Krueger said he was surprised to hear of the vote on the $127,000 allowance after the story broke in the Victoria Times-Colonist this week.
“I didn’t vote on that. It’s on the legislative assembly management committee, an all-party committee. I don’t recall hearing about it until now,” he said.
NDP MLA Shane Simpson sits on the management committee that approved the so-called MLA transition allowance. He said the payment was implemented in 2007 for MLAs who were defeated or resigned.
The allowance gives MLAs four months of pay and — depending on whether they find work quickly — up to 15 months salary.
The transition allowance didn’t consider MLAs facing recall. When the question arose in 2011, the management committee decided the transition allowance should be applicable, Simpson said.
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake was one of four Liberals targetted by recall campaigns, all of which failed.
Lake said he hadn’t heard anything about the recall allowance other than what’s been in news reports.
“I’m not on that committee. I don’t recall being told about it. I know if you fail to get re-elected or don’t run again, you get 15 months’ pay. So I presume if someone were recalled, they would get that transitional allowance,” he said.
“This committee used to meet infrequently and not very transparently. That has changed for the better.”
Rather than changing the transition allowance, Lake would like to see the recall legislation altered so it only applies to politicians doing something egregious or dishonest.
Asked what he would have done had he sat on that committee, Krueger hesitated.
“I don’t really feel like I can criticize because I wasn’t there for the deliberations. I would not have been in support if I had been there,” he said.
“I think the public are going to be pretty unhappy about the whole thing.”
The committee’s decision was discovered after minutes were released last month that showed the vote results.