Premier Christy Clark originally dinged taxpayers for her charter flight to a mysterious Lower Mainland party fundraiser last July.
Clark posed for photos with transgender equality advocates outside the Legislature on July 25, 2016, but later snubbed them when she skipped the vote that added gender identity or expression to the Human Rights Code. Her spokesman, Ben Chin, admitted to the Vancouver Sun that Clark attended a BC Liberal fundraising event in Vancouver, but no details were released at the time.
Documents obtained by theBreaker under the freedom of information law show that Clark and her aide, Adam McPhee, traveled on the 5 p.m. Island Express Air flight from Victoria to Boundary Bay Airport in Delta.
Clark’s office paid $1,160.54 for the flight. An undated, handwritten note on the July 20 invoice says the flight was “inadvertently charged to credit card on file.” The charge was later used as a credit for an Aug. 12 Island Express Air itinerary to Tofino for a Medal of Good Citizenship photo op attended by Clark and four others. The Tofino trip cost $3,709.48, before the $1,160.54 credit was applied.
The government claims it has no copies of internal or external correspondence about the Boundary Bay flight. It was mentioned in Clark’s agenda. Past FOI releases about Clark’s charter flights have shown correspondence between her staff and charter airline staff is the norm.
Clark and McPhee returned to Victoria the next morning by Helijet from downtown Vancouver.
As for the fundraiser itself, the location and the donors of money remain a secret. But theBreaker found a clue in the party’s annual report to Elections BC.
A form describes a July 25, 2016 event only as “E2016-120-100 Vancouver Fundraiser.” On the form, it says unidentified organizations bought nine tickets for $5,000 each. Two unidentifed individuals also bought tickets for the same price. A $1,785 donation was reported for unspecified goods and services. The same amount was counted as the cost of the function, which netted $55,000 for party coffers.
The Elections BC database shows the only donation of $1,785 on July 25, 2016 came from the Monark Group, a Surrey company that boasts e-commerce, real estate and entertainment investments.
Last year, Monark launched an Uber-inspired driver-sharing app called Kater. In 2013, Monark marketed tickets for the Liberal government’s controversial $11 million Times of India Film Awards. From 2014 to 2016, Monark donated $63,685 to the Liberals.
The party told Elections BC that it received only two donations of $5,000 each on July 25, 2016.
W.I. Woodtone Industries CEO Kevin Young told theBreaker that his company has generally donated to the Liberals in a “random way” and he was not aware of any event that day. LifeLabs representative Brenna Birkin did not respond.
Liberal spokesman Emile Scheffel did not respond to queries from theBreaker about the name or address of the fundraising venue or the names of those who attended.
Monark president Monty Sikka also did respond.
July 25, 2016 would be the day that two of Clark’s biggest recent scandals intersected.
Half of the $13.1 million the party grossed in donations last year came from cash for access events. Some of the events were held in private homes for small groups of donors who paid thousands of dollars to rub shoulders with Clark.
B.C. has no laws limiting either the size or source of donations to provincial or municipal
parties or candidates. The Liberals have resisted calls for reform from the NDP, Greens and independent Vicki Huntington. Clark made a vague promise to strike a non-binding advisory committee, should the Liberals be re-elected on May 9.
Through last spring, Clark had spent more than $600,000 over five years on charter jet flights to photo ops with her entourage. Many of those trips were single-day round-trips between Vancouver and her riding in Kelowna. She broke a 2013 by-election campaign promise to buy a house in the Okanagan city.