Follow the leader?

Earlier, we reported Infospec Holdings Corp. and New Asia Capital Investment Corp. paid an estimated $5,000 for provincial Liberal caucus chair John Yap to be part of a "delegation of business representatives to promote trade and goodwill" between British Columbia and China. This, despite the fact, Premier Gordon Campbell criticized the New Democrats for letting the Chinese International Cooperation Association pay at least $12,441 for Opposition Leader Carole James, three legislators and two staffer to go on a trade mission to Taiwan in 2006. So why did Mr. Yap think it was appropriate for him to travel to China on the private sector's dime?

"This is a case of supporting a group of business people from my community. As you know, in Richmond, Asia-Pacific trade and investment and business is very important. And I was invited to support business linkages," explained Mr. Yap, adding he personally paid for his airfare. Although InfoSpec and New Asia Capital Investment picked up the tab for his accomodation and transit within China.

But how is this diferent from the New Democrats' trip to Taiwan? "Well, the Leader of the Opposition and other members of her caucus are, of course, free to pursue what they believe they should do as far as building relations outside the country. I, as a private member, believe this was appropriate."

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