B.C. taxpayers on the hook for iTunes downloads, oysters and Hooters

Andy Radia
·Politics Reporter

B.C. Premier Christy Clark just doesn't get it.

According to CBC News, Clark's office doesn't think there's anything wrong with a credit card bill more than double that of her predecessor, Gordon Campbell.

On Thursday, the province's public accounts department released itemized records showing that the premier's office charged $475,000 in expenses to credit cards during the 2011/12 fiscal year.

The bill included the regular day-to-day expenses you'd expect out of most offices: airlines, hotels, office supplies and cell phone bills. But it also included dinners at five-star restaurants, visits to B.C. wineries, jewelry and thousands of dollars in coffee all paid for by B.C. taxpayers.

[ Related: Alberta faces a similar expense scandal ]

A spokesperson for the premier's office defended the increase in expenses arguing that the past year included extraordinary events such as the premiers' conference in Victoria and Clark's trade mission to Asia. Communications director Mike Morton cited a $3,267.66 charge at the Ferris Oyster Bar noting that event was for a reception Clark hosted for all the premiers.

Certainly, no one expects premiers at a premiers conference to eat $5 footlongs at Subway, but in a time of austerity, this is a little ridiculous.

Sadly, Clark has company in her spendthrift ways.

The ministry of transportation and infrastructure spent an extra one million dollars in 2011-2012 than the year before while the energy and mines department, under Rich Coleman, doubled its spending to $737,000 dollars.

Its purchases included $3,400 at coffee shops, $4,000 on cabs, $436 on chocolates, and $30 at a vitamin store.

Other ministries charged $600 in iTunes downloads while one department expensed three visits to a Hooters restaurant in Edmonton — your tax dollars at work.

Vancouver Province legislative reporter Michael Smyth says that these reports only tell part of the story and that he'd like to see "full disclosure."

[ More Political Points: Students are the wild card in the Quebec election ]

"These are just the line items on the credit card statement. We do not have the itemized breakdown," he told CKNW Radio in Vancouver.

"I think taxpayers deserve to see the actual receipts. I would like to know what the bar tab was at Bishop's restaurant. What type of wine were they drinking? Federal cabinet minister Bev Oda got in trouble for ordering a $16 glass of orange juice.

"How much was Christy Clark's orange juice?"

Only Christy Clark, it seems, can make Oda look like a fiscally prudent politician.