The Parksville-Qualicum MLA ejected from the NDP government caucus on Sunday for an unspecified human resources misconduct billed taxpayers more than $1,800 earlier this year for legal fees, according to expense reports.
Premier David Eby announced that Adam Walker, a former Qualicum Beach town councillor who was elected in the 2020 provincial election, was out of the caucus after an internal investigation, but did not provide details.
Speaking to reporters in Richmond on Monday morning, Eby said an employment relationship complaint received in late July triggered the investigation under the collective bargaining agreement with the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU).
“Based on the conclusions of that investigation, I felt I had no choice as leader to remove Mr. Walker from our caucus,” Eby said. “This is not a happy day for us, it was a very difficult call to make to Mr. Walker and also understanding the implications for the people of Parksville-Qualicum.”
Eby said the matter is not criminal and does not involve a sexual harassment complaint, but he stopped short of providing details. “I wish I could share more about this, but I can’t.”
Walker did not immediately respond to email and phone messages.
Walker also lost his post as parliamentary secretary for the sustainable economy.
Walker’s fourth-quarter expense report includes two heavily censored invoices from Fulton and Company LLP in Kamloops, regarding an “employment matter.”
The first, on Jan. 30, for $1,141.04, mentions telephone calls and emails with Walker about reviewing “multiple discipline and grievance and medical documents,” the medical leave for someone whose name was censored and for reviewing a completed short-term illness and injury plan form.
The second invoice, on Feb. 24, totalled $665.20, and mentions reviewing more emails and attached documents about a BCGEU review, grievance and possible staff layoffs. BCGEU represents workers in the NDP caucus and at NDP-run constituency offices.
The Fulton and Company invoice referred to an email to Walker “regarding investigation and implementation of workplace impairment policy.”
The legislative assembly has a legal indemnification policy that allows employees to apply confidentially for up to $5,000 “to enable the employee to obtain legal counsel in respect of a legal proceeding. An employee may make a subsequent application for an increase if the need arises.”
An employee is ineligible and must return all amounts paid if a judgment or decision is given against an employee in a legal proceeding or if a decision is made against the employee by the legislative assembly with the benefit of information that may become available to it.
Parksville-Qualicum had been represented by a BC Liberal MLA since the 1996 election until Walker upset Paralympian and former minister of social development and social innovation Michelle Stilwell almost three years ago by more than 2,000 votes.
Walker’s departure from caucus means he will sit as an independent when the legislature reopens on Oct. 3. The NDP caucus falls to 56.
The move comes less than a week after Abbotsford South’s Bruce Banman, who was also elected in 2020, quit the BC United caucus to join the Conservative Party of B.C. under leader John Rustad. That left the Kevin Falcon-led BC United official Opposition with 25 seats.
The Conservatives are now tied with the Greens with two seats each and have tentatively achieved official party status, which results in more funding and privileges at the legislature.
Walker’s public disclosure to the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner shows that he has income from egg and flower sales on a family hobby farm. His assets include 100-per-cent ownership of a technology services firm (0865647 B.C. Ltd.) and 50-per-cent ownership of a marketing services company (CGM Marketing Ltd.).