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Vaughn Palmer: Pandemic pushed up cost of provincial election, MLAs told

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“I don’t know that there will be an election,” replied Boegman. “I’m responding to the same sources that are out there and the same information that is out there.”

Meaning the almost hourly media speculation that Horgan was getting ready to pull the plug.

Besides, Boegman advised the committee, he really didn’t need approval to spend the money.

“I do have statutory spending already, under the Election Act, to spend as necessary to administer the act.”

The briefing was more a matter of courtesy: “My position is that in the interests of transparency with legislators, when we’re spending money, it’s appropriate for me to come to this committee to make a presentation as to what we were spending it on and why.”

The committee then went ahead and endorsed the $5.7 million as a down payment on the cost of the election. Even the B.C. Liberals went along, saying they were doing so in the name of “public safety.”

Three days later, on Monday, Sept. 21, Horgan did call the election, claiming he’d only made up his mind when he got out of bed on Saturday morning

Not surprisingly, all those precautions and safety equipment made for the most expensive election in B.C. history.

“We estimate that the election will cost approximately $54 million,” Boegman advised the committee this week.

In addition, under legislation brought in by the New Democrats, Elections B.C. will reimburse political parties and local candidates for 50 per cent of their valid election expenses, subject to auditing.

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