B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak and leader Andrew Wilkinson describe meeting with Speaker Darryl Plecas at B.C. legislature, May 30, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Darryl Plecas seized hard drives of senior B.C. legislature staff, Liberals say

Premier rejects opposition leader’s offer of an MLA to replace speaker

B.C. legislature speaker Darryl Plecas has rejected the findings of former chief justice Beverley McLachlin on financial activities by senior staff and resumed his own investigation, including seizing computer drives, B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak says.

Polak described a three-hour meeting with Plecas, NDP MLA Gary Begg and B.C. Green house leader Sonia Furstenau Wednesday night, at which she said Plecas was pounding on the table and accusing legislature security officers of corruption.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said after seeing Plecas and his assistant Alan Mullen removing a computer from a security office late Wednesday evening, and hearing of his accusations about legislature security officers, Wilkinson tried to meet with Premier John Horgan Thursday morning to offer an MLA to replace Plecas.

Horgan rejected that idea, telling reporters Thursday afternoon that Plecas is speaker for as long as he wants to be.

Plecas spoke to reporters earlier in the day, saying he brought in an outside company to copy computer drives from the acting sergeant at arms and acting clerk to secure data as he and Mullen continue their own investigation.

Polak released her notes from the Wednesday evening meeting, and described Plecas pounding on the table and rejecting the McLachlin’s findings. McLachlin cleared sergeant at arms Gary Lenz of any misconduct in his legislature expenses, and found that clerk Craig James did misuse legislature expense records.

The RCMP and two special prosecutors are still investigating the original accusations made by Plecas after he took several trips with James and Lenz. James reached a deal to retire, and Lenz has indicated he wants to return to work.

The two remaining senior security officers, Randy Ennis and Ron Huck, announced they are retiring with the end of the spring legislature session. Ennis, a former military officer, has been acting as sergeant at arms since Lenz and James were suspended and escorted out of the legislature last November.

Plecas rejected suggestions that staff members were quitting because of his actions. Wilkinson said security staff are considering joining a union to give them protection from Plecas.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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