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HomeBusinessMullen mulling run in provincial election 

Mullen mulling run in provincial election 

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Bob Mackin

Could Alan Mullen return to the B.C. Legislature as an MLA? 

The former chief of staff to Darryl Plecas, the speaker from 2017 to 2020, confirms he is being courted by more than one party to run in the Oct. 19 provincial election.

Darryl Plecas (left) and Alan Mullen in Abbotsford (Mackin)

“I’m considering it, I’m having the discussions, I’ve certainly not committed one way or another,” Mullen said, adding he was approached for interim discussions about running in the Lower Mainland.

He declined to say which parties are showing interest, except to say that BC United, the former BC Liberal Party, is not one of them. Plecas was ejected from the party when he was chosen speaker in 2017, early in the Green-supported NDP minority government. 

Mullen rose to prominence by helping Plecas expose corruption in the Legislature, where clerk Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz both resigned in disgrace in 2019. James was later convicted in 2022 of breach of public trust. 

“I think some people, certainly in the back rooms of political parties, are scratching their heads thinking, why would you be asking him, a little bit controversial, and he basically calls a spade a spade,’ Mullen said. “Well, yeah, I wish every politician would call a spade a spade.”

Mullen said he has never been a card-carrying member of any provincial or federal party and is not an ideologue. Instead, “in my capacity as chief of staff, it was always all about doing the right thing… it was about protecting the taxpayer, was always about looking after British Columbians.”

Among the work he did while in Plecas’s office was a 2020 report recommending cost-saving measures in Legislature security. It took until July 2023 for the Legislative Assembly Management Committee to adopt recommendations from “Review of the Sergeant-at-Arms Department and Proposals for Reform.” That is when the all-party committee heard that the first group of 10 unarmed safety officers began orientation and training. 

Mullen’s report recommended that Legislative Assembly Protective Services become a security department with unarmed officers in order to save more than $1 million a year. He found that the force protecting just 5.9 hectares was costing taxpayers $5 million a year and had become more expensive than the police forces in Victoria suburbs Oak Bay and Central Saanich. 

The B.C. Legislature should be a “glass house” where transparency is the priority, Mullen said.

“It’s the people’s house doesn’t belong to any political party, it doesn’t belong to any politician. They’re simply they’re doing the people’s work.”

After Plecas chose not run in the 2020 election, Mullen became head of investigations for a provincial regulator. He said he would mull the offers to run for office during the next three weeks. 

“I haven’t said no, and I certainly haven’t said yes, I’ve taken any call, any conversation. I’ve had the meetings, and I will continue to do so, and I’ll have some more this week,” said the Burnaby resident. “But at the end of the day, it’s not about necessarily me. It’s not about stepping back into the limelight. it’s not even about the political party. It’s about, is this the best time to do it, and is it the best thing for the province? If I feel overwhelmingly then, yes, that’s the answer, then I would obviously accept that and throw my hat in the ring.”

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