COQUITLAM — The lone Tri-Cities Liberal MLA says he’s satisfied with the findings of a report into the ethnic vote scandal surrounding the provincial government.
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA Doug Horne said the government has taken the right action not only by having a respected civil servant investigate the issue, but by terminating two of the staff without severance who were identified as being involved in the ethnic vote strategy.
“I think we’ve done the right thing. It’s about how you deal with these things when they happen,” he told The NOW.
On Thursday, a report by civil servant John Dyble regarding the investigation into the ethnic memo found serious misconduct by public officials, the misuse of government funds and the deliberate use of private e-mails to hide what was going on.
Two Liberal staffers have lost their jobs in the wake of the scandal, while the party paid back $70,000.
But Horne went on to blast the opposition NDP for its handling of what he called a “slush fund,” whereby MLAs were pooling constituency office funds to pay for a caucus contract.
The practice reportedly stopped after the party consulted Auditor General John Doyle, who told the NDP it was wrong.
Last week, Port Coquitlam NDP MLA Mike Farnworth told The NOW the issue was the result of a misunderstanding between two of B.C.’s top bureaucrats, and was rectified months ago.
“There’s a real contrast between the way our government has handled a difficult situation and the way the NDP handles a very similar, quite frankly, more concerning situation,” Horne said.
He also credited Dyble’s report, suggesting it didn’t “pull any punches” in its findings.
Horne has been critical of the leaked strategy, calling it disturbing.
“The whole thing surprised me,” he said, adding he has always celebrated the ethnic diversity in his riding.
With two months left before voters go to the polls, Horne is confident the party can move past the scandal and intends to highlight his record as MLA on the campaign trail.
“I’ve worked very hard for this community,” he said.
— with files from the Vancouver Sun