NDP MLA Jenny Kwan's Disneyland trip paid by Vancouver charity
Portland Hotel Society, recently audited for questionable expenses, paid for Kwan's Disneyland trip
British Columbia NDP MLA Jenny Kwan says she was surprised to learn that a $2,695 family trip to Disneyland in 2012 was paid for by the Portland Hotel Society, which looks after some of Canada's poorest citizens in one of the country's worst neighbourhoods.
The trip was one of several questionable expenses uncovered in a government audit of the society. Its directors and board resigned Wednesday over alleged misuse of funds.
The audit released this week found the Vancouver charity spent thousands of dollars on lavish hotels, limousine rides, expensive dinners and a trip to a Disneyland resort.
In a statement, Kwan said she was concerned to discover the type of expenses charged by previous directors of the society, including the Disneyland trip.
"Together with my family, I did join my husband, who was an employee of PHS on two trips in 2012, said Kwan. "I was assured at the time by my former partner that he paid out of his pocket for the family portion of the travel expenses."
"I never would have gone, had I known that the family portion of the travel would appear to have been paid for by PHS."
Kwan said she trusts her former partner will reimburse the PHS for any expenses related to family travel, and if not, she will.
Separate financial reviews examining expenses by the Portland Hotel Society — which runs Canada's only supervised injection site — have uncovered alleged misuse of corporate credit cards, unsupported expenses and inadequate criminal record checks.
The audit report released on Thursday also detailed over $8,600 spent on limousine rides last year and a stay in a British hotel that cost almost $900 per night.
Expenses not paid by government: PHS
The society's co-executive director Mark Townsend said none of the expenses in question were paid for with government or program money. He said the expenses in question were paid for out of the society's administrative fund.
"You have to understand the vast majority of these expenses are non-government expenses, they are from private foundations and their purpose is education or speaking at conferences and they're all funded by non-government money and they are part of the wider work we do," Townshend said
The Disneyland trip was a way of rewarding the hard work performed by Kwan's former partner because the society doesn't offer traditional health and overtime benefits, he said.
The Portland Hotel Society runs Insite, which is Canada's only stand-alone supervised injection site for drug users, and a number of social housing and support facilities in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.