New Democrats say the premier must fire the Advanced Education Minister

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Following a report that shows the B.C. Liberal Advanced Education Minister broke the government’s rules on post-secondary executive compensation limits and disclosure, the New Democrats say the premier must remove the minister from his post.

“While he was Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s governor responsible for ensuring the rules on limiting and disclosing executive salaries were followed, Amrik Virk broke those rules in at least two separate cases,” said New Democrat Leader John Horgan. “Mr. Virk cannot now be the minister responsible for ensuring post-secondary institutions follow the same rules he broke as a university governor.

“The Premier must remove him from his post.”

Horgan said the premier’s attempt to sweep this issue under the rug following the release of a report about Mr. Virk’s involvement shows she either doesn’t understand or doesn’t intend to enforce her own claims to having high standards and principles.

In March 2013, the premier said, “There is no value more important to me than respect for the taxpayer and ensuring that rules are properly followed.”

Just last week she said, “As premier of our province though I also have another responsibility and that is to every single British Columbian, and I have and I will always strive to maintain the highest standard of integrity.”

“Mr. Virk broke the rules on how much taxpayers pay to executives and the rules on disclosing those full amounts to the public,” said Horgan. “The Premier must live up to her own purported standards. Her own Advanced Education Minister failed to follow the rules, and failed to maintain the highest standard of integrity.

“He cannot be trusted to be the person that ensures others do.”

David Eby, New Democrat advanced education critic, said, “Mr. Virk excuses himself, claiming no one told him the rules he was supposed to follow. I sincerely doubt as a police officer, Mr. Virk ever accepted that excuse from someone accused of committing a crime.”

Eby said if Mr. Virk followed the premier’s principles of upholding rules and integrity, Mr. Virk would have already stepped down, and the Premier wouldn’t need to fire him.