August 29, 2012
Perks Too Much
Elections BC head takes junkets on taxpayers dime
Released by Dermod Travis, Integrity BC
Columbians paid thousands of dollars for the former head of
Elections BC, to take his wife on a business trip to Africa and for
him to later stay at an exclusive private club in Washington, D.C.
and an Arizona resort.
by IntegrityBC via a freedom of information request also show Craig
James – who has since been appointed clerk of British Columbia’s
legislature – spent two-and-a-half times more on travel in 2010 than
Harry Neufeld his predecessor at Elections BC did in the year prior.
James’s $43,295 bill for travel expenses between August 25th and
December 12th, 2010 followed the introduction of new travel
entitlements that he authorized for himself and senior employees at
the government agency.
The entitlements, which have since been rescinded by his successor,
included the splitting of “any air fare (*sic*) up to and including
business class air fare, with another person,” as well as
authorizing business class airfare for flights with a “cumulative”
flight time of more than four hours.
In September 2010, James was accompanied by his wife on a KLM flight
to Nairobi, Kenya where he attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary
Association conference. The two business class seats cost taxpayers
According to the records obtained by Integrity BC, James justified
the cost for his wife to accompany him to Kenya by claiming that the
fare to Nairobi for two individuals was “the result of a group rate
obtained by booking through a travel agent” and was less than a
comparable single fare on Air Canada, even though James and his wife
didn't fly Air Canada.
James flew business class to Ottawa on October 31st, 2010 returning
the next day at a cost of $4,642, not including the $1,705 rebate
from the Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation. Only months
earlier Harry Neufeld had flown to Ottawa for $1,274. In addition to
a second trip to Ottawa in November, James also flew business class
on trips across North
When travelling for Elections BC, James stayed at some of the most
exclusive and expensive resorts in the U.S. and Canada, including:
Washington, D.C.'s Cosmos Club and the Arizona Biltmore Resort and
Spa in Phoenix.
Worth Magazine ranked the Cosmos Club as the fourth best private
club in the United States and the website Hotels for the Rich and
Famous notes that the Biltmore is: “a restful oasis of 39 acres
covered with lush gardens, glistening swimming pools, and Frank
Lloyd Wright-influenced architecture.”
James charged taxpayers $399 plus taxes and resort fees per night
for his two nights at the Biltmore and $298 plus taxes per night for
his three nights at the Cosmos Club. This compares to nightly rates
of $149 at the Westin Phoenix Downtown and $155 at the historic
Dupont Circle Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C.
One week after he assumed the Chief Electoral Officer post in
September, 2011 Keith Archer rescinded the travel entitlements that
James had introduced at Elections BC.
IntegrityBC has posted all related documents obtained through its
freedom of information request on its website at:
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice