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

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

LETTER: Recreational angling has low-impact on Fraser salmon

Jason Tonelli writes about his displeasure at the call to close recreational fishing on the Fraser

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

VIDEO: Masterpieces begin to take shape at Hope’s chainsaw competition

More than a dozen chainsaw carvers, including one 14-year-old carver, taking part in four-day event

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Police identify 45-year-old victim in South Surrey stabbing

Delphin Paul Prestbakmo died at the scene, near 18 Avenue and 152 Street

Most Read