B.C. Liberal MLA defends his actions at controversial photo op

B.C. Liberal MLA defends his actions at controversial photo op

B.C. Liberal MLA Peter Fassbender is offering an explanation for a controversial cheque presentation at a Hindu temple in Surrey earlier this week.

This comes after the B.C. NDP accused Fassbender of using taxpayer dollars to benefit his party's re-election campaign.

In a video posted on Facebook, Fassbender and two other Liberal MLAs are seen presenting a $50,000 cheque on behalf of the province.

The New Democrats say the problem with the video is that it shows Fassbender announcing three unelected Liberal candidates who are running in the upcoming election.

Fassbender says he did nothing wrong.

"I didn't introduce them when I made the announcement and gave the cheque," Fassbender said.

"They were invited by the temple and I recognized the fact that they were there."

Previous incident

Fassbender's visit to the temple came less than a week after he was involved in another controversial photo op in Surrey.

He presented a $75,000 cheque to the Surrey Newton Rotary Club.

Fassbender admits that he made a mistake by holding the event at his campaign office.

"I should not have done it and I apologized for it," he said.

"This was a totally different context [from the cheque presentation at the temple]."

NDP MLA Mike Farnworth says Liberal candidates that aren't members of the Legislature have no business at news conferences where the government is giving out taxpayer money.

"It is just so frustrating that once again, you see the Liberals doing something they're not supposed to be doing," Farnworth said.

"They don't seem to care what the public thinks or how it looks to people. All that matters to them is their re-election."

Election season

The provincial election is still more than a month away and the official start of the campaign doesn't begin until April 11, but the B.C. Liberals have been in full campaign mode for weeks.

The party held eight photo ops in and around Metro Vancouver on Thursday.

They are back at it Friday with another eight events, including one on Vancouver Island.

- 9 a.m. Members of the media are invited to join Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink for an announcement about transit in Metro Vancouver.

- 10 a.m. Media are invited to attend an event with John Yap, MLA for Richmond-Steveston, on behalf of the Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport, Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink; Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese; and TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond to celebrate the next wave of bus service improvements to be implemented across the region.

- 10:15 a.m.: On behalf of Education Minister Mike Bernier, MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour Jane Thornthwaite, will visit Windsor Secondary to make a milestone announcement. Thornthwaite will be joined by school board chair Christie Sacré, parents, students, teachers and staff.

- 10:30 a.m. Members of the media are invited to attend an important infrastructure event regarding B.C. ferry projects, with Pam Goldsmith-Jones, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Jordan Sturdy, Member of the Legislative Assembly for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky; and Mark Collins, BC Ferries in-coming President and CEO.

- 11 a.m. Media are invited to join Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux, president and CEO of TELUS Darren Entwistle, and IBM general manager of public sector for B.C. John Longbottom for an announcement about new technology supports for young people in government care or who have recently aged out of that care.

- 12 p.m. MP Goldsmith-Jones and MLA Sturdy will make an important funding announcement to benefit water and wastewater treatment in Gibsons, Sechelt, Pender Harbour and Madeira Park.

- 12:00 p.m.Members of the media are invited to attend an important infrastructure event regarding the Lower Lynn Corridor Interchanges Improvement Project with Member of Parliament for North Vancouver Jonathan Wilkinson, on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi, and MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour Jane Thornthwaite, on behalf of B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.