In the midst of government social service reductions, Mary Polak has repeatedly tried to refuse to answer questions about a unique perk enjoyed by the ministry of children and family development's top bureaucrat. At issue: Lesley du Toit's $2,000 month living allowance. In a 2007 interview with Public Eye, the premier's then press secretary Mike Morton explained Ms. du Toit, "still maintains her permanent home in South Africa. And it was negotiated as part of her contract that, while she was here, she would receive a living allowance rather than moving her over here on a permanent basis." But the Langley MLA seems to be more tight-lipped about that allowance.
Asked why that perk was still in place given those service reductions, the minister said on Voice of BC, "Well, I'm not going to comment on her employment contract."
This, despite the fact that contract - under the Public Sector Employers Act - is legally a public document.
"That's something that people negotiate in good faith, and that's really her business," the minister continued.
And she rolled out the same statement in estimates debate this week, under questioning from New Democrat critic Maurine Karagianis.
"With respect to the deputy minister, I'm not going to discuss specific items dealing with a personal employment contract," she stated.
This, before acknowledging that allowance was "well known to be approximately $2,000 a month."