Earthquake appointment draws NDP ire

Former Chilliwack MLA John Les gets second government appointment, to head emergency preparedness project

As B.C. Solicitor General in 2005

As B.C. Solicitor General in 2005

VICTORIA – Former Chilliwack MLA John Les will be paid up to $140,000 to chair a province-wide consultation to report by the end of the year on earthquake preparedness.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton announced Tuesday that Les was chosen to chair the consultation, with Henry Renteria, former director of California’s Office of Emergency Services, serving as vice chair.

Les has unique experience as a former mayor of Chilliwack and former solicitor general in charge of the provincial emergency program, Anton said. That experience is why Les will be paid more than Renteria, who will make up to $100,000.

Anton refused to say if any other candidates were interviewed for the job. It is the second appointment for Les since retiring as an MLA before the 2013 election. He is also making up to $60,000 a year to chair the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board, to which he was appointed last November for a three-year term.

Anton said Les will forgo severance pay, an extension of the $101,000 MLA salary given to retiring and defeated MLAs for up to 15 months, because he has other income.

Les is also registered as a lobbyist, representing Belkorp Environmental Services, which operates the Cache Creek landfill. Belkorp is promoting garbage recycling facilities instead of additional incineration proposed by Metro Vancouver as the Cache Creek facility fills up.

NDP critic Shane Simpson said the apparent lack of a candidate search shows the appointment is patronage for a long-time supporter of the B.C. Liberals.

“Here we have this retired politician who has a full pension, already has a $60,000 patronage appointment, is a lobbyist, and now is about to get another $140,000 for some dubious notion he’s an expert about emergency preparedness,” Simpson said. “It truly does make the case that Les is more in this case.”

The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation calculates that after 12 years as an MLA, Les qualifies for $48,289 a year in MLA pension once he turns 65.

 

Just Posted

Elaine Kirwin in her Expedia Cruises office talks about the future of travel. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Sidney travel agency charts course through pandemic

Owner of Expedia Cruises in Sidney expects smooth sailing ahead once travel restrictions lift

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)
Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

Police are asking opponents of logging near Port Renfrew not to involve their children following additional arrests Saturday. (Black Press Media File)
Police arrest eight protesters including two minors near Port Renfrew Saturday

RCMP ask parents not to involve their children in Fairy Creek logging protests

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read