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HomeMiscellany“Plucky Plecas” leaves Liberals to sit as Speaker

“Plucky Plecas” leaves Liberals to sit as Speaker

Bob Mackin

theBreaker played a bit part in changing political history in British Columbia. 

Plecas (centre) dragged by house leaders to the Speaker’s chair (Hansard TV)

How?

Well, BC Liberal Darryl Plecas’s surprise ascent to the Speaker’s throne in the B.C. Legislature on Sept. 8 may never have happened if not for two sources who told theBreaker what really went on behind the scenes at the pivotal BC Liberal caucus retreat in Penticton at the end of July. 

Ex-premier Christy Clark shocked the province and resigned as party leader on July 28, after pledging earlier that week that she was looking forward to being in opposition and holding the NDP’s feet to the fire. Rich Coleman became the interim leader and held a tearful news conference where he made that infamous slip of the tongue: “What she’s given to this province should never be forgiven… forgotten.” 

Clark waited until after the weekend to hold her farewell news conference in Vancouver, where she claimed nobody in caucus wanted her to leave. 

On Aug. 3, theBreaker published the story that debunked the last-known fib of Clark’s career: those two sources told theBreaker that Plecas stood up to Clark and had threatened to leave caucus if Clark’s leadership didn’t undergo a review. Not only had the Clark Clique adopted NDP and Green policies in the “clone speech,” not only had party insiders held a meeting to blame Clark for the election loss, but now there was genuine dissent. 

Evidently, they tried to make it appear that things were OK and found a role for Plecas in the fall sitting of the Legislature. When Coleman announced his shadow cabinet, Plecas was given the unenviable task of being the BC Hydro critic. 

Now, instead of defending BC Liberal mismanagement of the biggest Crown corporation, Plecas has a pay raise and a prestigious job better-suited for an academic who didn’t get into politics to play games. But that didn’t stop the Liberals from withholding applause for the new speaker. As is his character, the notorious bloviator and career politician Coleman labelled Plecas a traitor. 

After all the games and tricks played by the Liberals after the election — such as the June 22 clone speech and Clark’s failed June 29 bid to trigger a new election — the Legislature sorted itself out naturally. The 41 NDP and three Greens now outnumber the Liberals by three votes. That is likely to be reduced to two in the new year when Clark’s West Kelowna seat is reclaimed by Liberal Ben Stewart. But the feared deadlock needing tie-breaking votes from a “partisan” speaker won’t happen. 

Now, after all the dilly-dallying, the people paid good money to make laws and dole out contracts can get down to work and solve the province’s myriad problems. And there were many left by the previous BC Liberal government. 

More than 4.7 million British Columbians are waiting for you to make it better, NDP. No excuses.