Bell chides NDP for rejecting his "goodwill gesture"

Earlier today, we broke the news that Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell had invited legislators on both sides of the aisle to an event celebrating the re-opening of BC Place. That freebie will see attendees take in a BC Lions game while enjoying the use of the stadium's Edgewater Lounge. In an interview with The Vancouver Courier's Bob Mackin, New Democrat caucus chair Shane Simpson said opposition politicians won't be taking up Mr. Bell on his offer because "we didn't really think it was that appropriate for 85 MLAs to get an invitation for free tickets and things." But, speaking with Public Eye, the minister pointed out the tickets were provided to the government at no cost to taxpayers because of the contractual relationship BC Pavilion Corp. - which owns the stadium - has with the BC Lions.

"I think as an elected official, someone who represents anywhere from 25,000 to 75,000, it would be appropriate for the NDP to join everyone in attending the festivities. It's a big deal. It was a big investment on the part of the province of British Columbia. And I think elected officials, whether they're government or opposition, should be part of that celebration," he said.

Indeed, Mr. Bell said he found it "disappointing" the New Democrats have turned down his invitation "because it was meant as a good gesture and they seem to want to try to play it to political advantage."

"They've tried to get it to every media outlet in the province. They've gone to every media outlet and every media outlet has kind of said, 'Hold it here. Seems like a reasonable thing for the minister to do to offer you tickets to attend what is a provincial celebration.' So there's been no uptick."

But, he added, "I've had a number of (opposition MLAs) come up to me quietly and said to me, 'Gee, can I still get a hold of those tickets.'"


Big investment by the province says MLA Bell. Well Mr. Bell, we the taxpayers paid for it, the elected Liberals are there because its free and no doubt they were told to attend. I for one would not be happy to see my MLA bellying up to the trough.

Next, the BCNDP will need mass treatment for hypertension. Seriously.

Loosen up, BCNDP and enjoy this. You worked for and to be a MLA, enjoy some of the benefits.

Good gawd, does everything have to be political football?

No matter how Pat Bell decides to spin it, It is the taxpayer paying for them to be there. The NDP is smart enough to know it is in their best interest not to attend.

The taxpayer pays and then the MLA's get a "gift" from the beneficiaries. That comes pretty close to a conflict of interest. I seem to recall in the 90's an dinner hosted by UBC for MLA's - an annual event - and the outcry from the press that it presented a conflict of interest. So a little consistency is not too much to expect. Wasn't there also a big deal made of Sihota getting a free ski hill pass because the ski hill wanted him to see their facility? Those were a lot less in significance but they were made a political football. So what has changed?

Umm, excuse me Mr. Bell - If BC Pavilion Corp and the BC Lions really want to celebrate the re-opening of BC Place they could televise the game in British Columbia. That would mean a heck of a lot more than giving free tickets to government members! What is it with these people that they don't get that taxpayers are sick and tired of being bent over and taken advantage of?

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