VICTORIA— The only statement Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk should be making is announcing his resignation, says New Democrat advanced education critic David Eby.
“When we first raised the issue of underhanded executive compensation practices at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Amrik Virk called our concerns ‘outlandish’. Then, an investigation confirmed he was involved in breaking the rules,” said Eby.
“Now we have evidence that executive compensation rules are being broken at other B.C. universities and instead of taking action Mr. Virk has released a statement filled with excuses, evasion and denials.
“Mr. Virk has proven he can’t be trusted to enforce the same rules he broke himself. It’s clear he cannot do his job and he needs to step down.”
A New Democrat investigation into 3 universities uncovered $1.1 million in payments exceeding the executive compensation caps they were able to obtain from the government. Amrik Virk is denying that anything is wrong, and is refusing to release information to the public about what the compensation caps are, how they are calculated, and what they include.
“Whether compensation is paid as salary, a vehicle or housing allowance, or lucrative side-contracts, taxpayers are on the hook, and the caps are being broken. Every President at all three schools we have caps for were paid more than the maximum in each of the last three years. In one case, the overpayments amount to almost $50,000 in just three years. Meanwhile, Mr. Virk continues to hide all information about caps at the other 19 B.C. post-secondary schools.
“It’s clear Amrik Virk, as a Liberal minster, just as he did when a Liberal appointee, is trying to hide the truth about what’s really going on by hiding these caps. The public cannot rely on the attestation letters from Liberal appointees, we know that from what happened when Mr. Virk was on the board of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and from what was just revealed about compensation practices at the Royal B.C. Museum,” said Eby.
Eby said that if Mr. Virk isn’t willing to do the right thing and step down, the premier needs to take action to maintain confidence in our advanced education system.
“If the minister will not be open with the public, and make universities and colleges follow the rules – he cannot do his job. Everyone seems to understand this but the Premier – it is time for him to go,” said Eby.