Last week, your humble organ reported former provincial attorney general Geoff Plant had been retained - through his law firm Heenan Blaikie LLP - to assist the provincial government on a number of aboriginal treaty negotiations issues. Under the Members' Conflict of Interest Act, former executive council members are usually restricted from being offered such contracts within two years of leaving office. But government used a loophole built into that legislation to allow the hiring. Asked for his opinion on the matter last night, Public Eye Radio guest Leonard Krog, said "There is a sense out there that Geoff Plant is a very intelligent, able, competent guy - not the kind of person you'd want to go after. That this is a fellow who's sort of above public reproach." But the New Democrat MLA added "I think that hiring Mr. Plant in a position like this so soon after the election - claiming that it gets past the legislation that restricts cabinet ministers from doing this in the two years of leaving office - I think it leaves a pretty bad taste in the public's mouth."
"There are times when it may be legal to do it. And you may want to do it. But you have to step back and say to yourself, what's the public going to think about this? Will this enhance the public view of politics, politicians and government. I just think there are a lot of able and capable people in British Columbia today available to take on the kind of position Mr. Plant has taken. And I think the public interest would have been better served if one of those had been chosen," concluded the Opposition critic for the attorney general.
Mr. Krog also called upon government to close the aforementioned legislative loophole