The B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Jordan Bateman, is back in the news again.
This time, he's raising concerns about why the premier's office under Christy Clark spent more than twice as much on credit-card bills in a single year than her predecessor did in the previous year.
The premier's office picked up the tab for massive cellphone bills exceeding $100,000 from Rogers and Telus, as well as whopping restaurant bills, including a $3,267 tab at Ferris Oyster Bar.
I've never understood why so many politicians leave themselves vulnerable to this type of criticism. Perhaps we should just chalk it up to their narcissism. They're just special people entitled to eat on the taxpayers' dime.
This has provided Bateman, a wedding chaplain and former Township of Langley councillor, with plenty of opportunities to go on TV newscasts to question these expenditures.
He does it in a folksy way, often with a wry smile on his face, coming across as the only guy talking common sense in the midst of a lot of nonsense.
Last month, Bateman zeroed in on the transit police, saying they must be part of an overall audit of TransLink.
Last year's statement of financial information revealed that 59 TransLink constables were paid more than $100,000. Of those, 11 constables collected more than $130,000 with the top income reaching $147,365.
It seems that busting fare evaders comes with a hefty price tag. This was another easy target for Bateman.
He's an ex-journalist. So he knows how to dig up the dirt on overspending. He's also one of B.C.'s foremost right-wing gladiators, having served on the executive of B.C. Liberal cabinet minister Rich Coleman's constituency executive for many years.
And, according to Bateman's website, he has "ghostwritten and edited more than 125 books over the past decade for Christian, political, business, charity and other clients".
With Bateman as its B.C. spokesperson, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has boosted its profile in this province. But its demands for greater accountability from the public sector aren't matched by a similar level of transparency on its own part.
It claims to have 70,000 "supporters" across the country. (People can join at no cost.) But there's no annual report on its website giving any indication where the money is coming from. Instead, there's a vague link in the "who we are" section that takes people to a broad outline of expenditures, but it's not presented on the website in a manner that makes it clear that this is where financial information can be found.
Still in his mid 30s, Bateman can reasonably be characterized as one of the rising stars of the Canadian right. It's a safe bet that he'll seek political office in the future, possibly at the federal or provincial levels.
In the meantime if he's truly interested in promoting greater accountability, perhaps one day he'll reveal which corporations and business executives are paying the bulk of his salary—as yet undisclosed—at the taxpayers federation. Transparency should go both ways.