Amidst a backdrop of service cutbacks, Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak refused to say whether her deputy minister Lesley du Toit is still receiving a $2,000 a month living allowance. Public Eye first reported on that allowance back in 2007. So last night, on Voice of BC, we asked whether that perk was still in place, given the government recent decision to, for example, trim $7.4 million from the budget for contracted social service agencies. The response: "Well, I'm not going to comment on her employment contract. That's something that people negotiate in good faith, and that's really her business."
"I do think it's important for the public to know what kind of a person this is that was recruited to government," she continued. "This is a woman who is not just a bureaucrat. She is an incredible practitioner. She was brought to British Columbia after having done a tremendous amount of work in South Africa - hand-picked by Nelson Mandela to remake their child protection service after what I'm sure anyone can imagine was just absolute devastation, under apartheid. She's internationally renowned, and we are very fortunate to have her."
"Truly, when you look at people of Lesley's calibre, there is no doubt in my mind that she could be doing herself far better financially if she was working in the private sector - but she believes in B.C.'s kids."