B.C. MLA to pay back $244 in food money received during welfare challenge

VICTORIA — Vancouver New Democrat Mable Elmore says she will refund $244 in food expense money she claimed while participating in last year's welfare food challenge that involved her living on $19 a week.

The Opposition Liberals released expense documents Wednesday that showed Elmore received a meal subsidy of $61 a day for four days while she was in Victoria as the legislature was in session.

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Elmore said neither she nor members of her staff noticed she received the meal expenses during the challenge last November.

"I didn't catch it," she said about 90 minutes after the Liberals grilled her over the expenses during question period. "In the spirit of the welfare challenge, I've decided to pay back the per diems for that week."

Elmore said she lived on boiled eggs, old fruit and homemade bean casserole for the week.

She said she was the only member of the B.C. legislature to participate in the 6th Annual Welfare Food Challenge that ran for seven days.

Liberal House Leader Mary Polak said it appears the New Democrats are starting to consider themselves above the rules.

"What we're witnessing here is a clear pattern of not adhering to the rules," she said.

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