News British Columbia

NDP say Liberal MLA was in 2005 conflict of interest 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

The BC NDP say Amrik Virk was in a conflict of interest when he spoke in favour of rezoning property owned by his wife's company in 2005.

The BC NDP say Amrik Virk was in a conflict of interest when he spoke in favour of rezoning property owned by his wife's company in 2005.

The New Democrats say Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk was in a conflict of interest when he appeared at a Surrey board of variance meeting in 2005 as a “neighbour” to support construction-related changes at a property his wife’s company owned.

Documents shared with 24 hours show Virk — who was a police officer at the time — presented a petition to the meeting to show himself and other neighbours were not opposed to the changes. 

“We are the neighbours directly to the south and it is true that this property is unique and it does make more sense to have the building face designed accordingly,” he said, according to Surrey’s board of variance minutes.

Opposition MLA David Eby said the fact there was nothing wrong with Virk’s appearing as a neighbour to support his wife’s company is a problem that needs fixing.

There is no mention in the minutes on whether or not Virk had disclosed his familial ties at the hearing.

“There needs to be a law that obligates people to disclose conflicts of interest and tell the truth at board of variance hearings,” he said on Monday, adding he intends to introduce a private member’s bill in the next session.

“The board needs to know the neighbour standing in front of them, saying ‘yes I support this rezoning’ is somebody who is either independent — or has a connection and would benefit.”

Virk, in a statement, acknowledged that he spoke at the meeting.

“My wife — a realtor — and sister-in-law were registered owners of the company that owned the property next to us,” he said.

“All neighbours of the property signed a petition of support, including myself. I did speak at the meeting as a neighbour.

“Records state that I said no neighbours had an objection to the variance.”

 

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