Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen filed an application in B.C. Supreme Court today (Monday), seeking intervener status in the auditor general’s lawsuit against the B.C. government.
In that lawsuit, auditor general John Doyle is seeking a court order entitling him to see all documents related to the $6 million in legal fees the province picked up in the case against Dave Basi and Bobby Virk.
The pair pleaded guilty in October 2010 to providing insider information in the 2003 $1 billion sale of BC Rail and to receiving benefits for the information.
The auditor general is also seeking all documents related to other cases where government employees have had their legal fees paid.
A key issue in the lawsuit is whether claims of confidentiality or lawyer-client privilege prevent the auditor general from obtaining access to certain documents and information.
If van Dongen is granted intervener status, he will be able to make oral and written submissions in the auditor general’s lawsuit.
In his notice of application, van Dongen said he is seeking such status because he can “provide insight and analysis” on some of the issues raised in the lawsuit, due to his “extensive experience” as an MLA and former government minister.
The court documents state that van Dongen has been seeking answers from the government since he first learned that the legal fees had been waived for Basi and Virk.
“The applicant was deeply troubled by the government’s decision to ignore calls for a public inquiry into the Basi-Virk legal fees indemnity waivers,” the documents state.
In a prepared statement issued after he filed the notice, van Dongen said full disclosure by the government is crucial.
“If the auditor general were not able to conduct a thorough performance audit of the disbursement and receipt of taxpayer money, and to report without restriction on that audit to the Legislature, the efficacy of his office would be severely impaired, to the detriment of our democracy.”
Van Dongen’s motion will be heard by the court on June 1. The main hearing of the auditor-general’s petition is scheduled for five days starting on June 18.
Van Dongen sat as a backbencher with the B.C. Liberals until he joined the B.C. Conservatives in late March.