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Minister says he's not 'pissing around' on Hydro hotel tab

Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom is yet to provide documentation that the intention was always to pay B.C. Hydro back for his stay at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver during the Olympics, despite saying last week his staff would have those records.

“I'd have to pass that to my staff, but I think we most certainly could,” Lekstrom said on April 20 when asked if he could demonstrate the ministry had worked out with B.C. Hydro ahead of time that the government would reimburse the Crown corporation for his stay.

The Tyee followed up last week with officials in both the minister's office and the ministry's communications office, but no such documentation has been forthcoming.

Reminded of the matter today, Lekstrom said he does not book his own rooms and repeated he would have to check with his staff. “If somebody thinks I'm pissing around, doing something, I mean that's what you're implying, you're dead wrong. That's all I've got to say to you.”

On Feb. 23 spokespeople for both B.C. Hydro and the ministry said the Crown corporation was not paying for Lekstrom's room, the Tyee reported. But nine days later, on March 4, B.C. Hydro billed the ministry $1,703.60 for “Accommodations provided to Hon. Blair Lekstrom at The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver between Feb 14-17 and Feb 24-26.”

Lekstrom last week said B.C. Hydro had booked a block of rooms and he was able to use one on the understanding the government would pay for it.

The New Democratic Party's EMPR critic, John Horgan, said Lekstrom should have paid for his stay on the spot, as government officials normally would, instead of having the bill come through B.C. Hydro.

"Had you not made the [Feb. 23] phone call, Hydro probably would have absorbed the cost," he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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