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Politician laments lack of charge

I felt I needed to respond to the editorial in the March 31 Prince George Citizen regarding the gaming centre.

I felt I needed to respond to the editorial in the March 31 Prince George Citizen regarding the gaming centre. It was mentioned in the editorial that I made a complaint to the RCMP about being offered a campaign contribution regarding my vote for allowing the development of a gaming centre in downtown Prince George. The editorial went on to say that Crown council did not charge the individual after an 18-month investigation but failed to mention the RCMP recommended charges under the criminal code against the individual as reported by the Prince George Citizen in July, 2007. I spent 18 months of my time working with the RCMP to bring this individual to court. The individual who offered me the money for my vote should have been charged under the criminal code, and in doing so that would have give the political process in Prince George a much needed shakeup. I take my job very seriously and truth and justice are as important to me today as there were when I was first elected.

The other issue mentioned is the audit about the building and financing of the gaming centre and that it is going to cost the city money. This is absolutely correct. This audit was promised by the administration of city hall in September, 2006 and that included a full public accounting of the project. That never happened and is happening today. For me as an elected official to sit back and not push for a promised audit, including measures of accountability regarding the gaming centre could be the story here, but it is not. If I was to allow that type of thing to not transpire would be a good reason to tell me to take a hike. Mayor Rogers comments about asking the auditor for a "smoking gun" does nothing for this process other than allowing him to muddy the waters and score political points at my expense.

As an elected official I asked valid questions about the gaming centre and was denied some of the information and had to file a Freedom of Information request to get it. It should never have reached that point but it did, and that was a shame. If my questions about city accountability make some people uncomfortable that is too bad. So, for some to try and imply I was wasting time and resources trying to ask questions or do something that was not good for the city astounds me. I made a commitment to the taxpayers of this community that I would stand up for what I felt was right, and that is to ask tough questions and I will continue to do so.

Brian Skakun

Prince George