News Views: Height of hypocrisy

Many ways to promote and support school without dipping further into public purse

Maple Ridge Coun. Corisa Bell billed taxpayers $250 last year to attend a fundraising gala at the private school her daughter attends.

Mayor Ernie Daykin claims the expense, at  least, is poor optics.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie goes a bit further, suggesting Bell’s gala expense is inappropriate because of the family connection.

Bell has battled with both council colleagues before, so more is at play here than a ticket to an event to raise money for capital improvements to Meadowridge School.

Regardless, Bell, in her first term on council, claimed more in expenses last year than any other member, and exceeded the allowable limit of $5,000 by a substantial margin – $2,819.

Ashlie is correct in that councillors are given a set amount to claim as expenses and should not exceed it.

But for whatever reason, Bell did, which shows poor judgement, as did claiming the school gala ticket.

It’s not the amount of the ticket, although she should pay it back, and not even so much that her daughter attends the school, for which tuition is $17,000 a year.

This is about a municipal politician, no matter the level of experience, who throughout the term has questioned municipal spending and fought over it – who campaigned against council wage increases and who now has racked up more expenses than anyone on council – frivolously deciding that taxpayers should pay her way to network at a function that has little to do with municipal business.

There is no excuse for that.

There are many ways for her to support the school and get to know those involved with it without dipping further into the public purse.

Exceeding her municipal expense limit was neglectful. Claiming the school gala ticket was simply hypocritical.

– The News