Victoria: British Columbia’s Opposition Liberals are calling for New Democrat Ravi Kahlon to resign from an all-party committee reviewing ride hailing for the province because his dad holds a taxi licence.
Richmond Liberal Jas Johal said Wednesday the member from North Delta should quit the select standing committee on Crown corporations, which is currently holding meetings and accepting submissions from representatives from the taxi and ride-hailing industries.
The committee is preparing a report that would examine and make recommendations on the implementation of ride hailing, and Johal said there’s a perception of conflict of interest with Kahlon on the committee.
“You are making recommendations to the minister that could directly impact taxi licences and the prices of those taxi licences, which would mean his father’s taxi licence,” Johal said. “I think that doesn’t pass the smell test in regard to a conflict. He should recuse himself.”
The Liberals have not taken their concerns to B.C.’s conflict of interest commissioner, said Johal.
Kahlon said his father, Navroop Singh Kahlon, has held a taxi licence in Victoria for almost 30 years, but that should not force him to quit the committee. He said his father is preparing to retire within the next two months.
Kahlon said he did not tell Transportation Minister Claire Trevena his father was in the taxi business when he was appointed to the committee last year.
Johal said he was not aware until recently that Kahlon had family ties to the taxi industry.
Adam Olsen, the Green party’s committee representative, also said he did not know Kahlon’s father held a taxi licence.
Kahlon said he has an open mind toward ride hailing.
“I don’t know what the rules will be in the end,” he said. “Our committee is listening to all recommendations, in fact, we’ve been having good conversations in the committee. Again, at the end of the day, the decision is made by the minister and cabinet.”
Johal said ride hailing’s introduction to B.C. is moving slowly as the government launches ongoing reviews despite overwhelming public support for the services such as Uber and Lyft.
Trevena rejected Liberal suggestions that family ties could impact the review process, saying she makes final decisions not members of the committee.
“The buck stops with me,” she said in the legislature. “It does not stop with the committee members.”
The Canadian Press