Darryl Plecas says he can sleep well at night, two years after enduring a Christmastime of criticism for simply doing his job.
“I sleep well at night for one single reason: because I always acted with integrity,” ex-Speaker Plecas told theBreaker.news in an exclusive Dec. 22 interview (WATCH BELOW). “As long as you’re doing that, you’re trying to do the right thing, then you can sleep well. I wonder how many of those other people who have been bashing us — and never mind just bashing us, that huge collection of people who are employed at the Legislature and the elected officials at the Legislature who knew some of this stuff a long time ago, who knew it, it goes back over a decade.”
Plecas and Chief of Staff Alan Mullen called in the RCMP to investigate corruption in the offices of the Clerk and Sergeant-at-Arms. Craig James and Gary Lenz were suspended in late 2018 and eventually retired in disgrace in 2019. On Dec. 18, James was charged with four counts of breach of trust by a public official and two counts of fraud over $5,000. His next court appearance is Jan. 27. The investigation remains active.
Plecas describes the Legislature as a “corrupt organization” that relishes being insulated from freedom of information and whistleblower protection laws.
“Somebody needs to say ‘stop it, get out of the building, get out of the office!’ Thank God a few of them were walked off the property in the last election by taxpayers,” he said, during a physically distanced interview outside the pandemic-closed Abbotsford Centre.
Plecas, who represented the Abbotsford South riding from 2013 to 2020, wished he could have satisfied the curiosity of Press Gallery reporters when James and Lenz were suddenly suspended on Nov. 20, 2018. But it was simply not possible to do so during an active criminal investigation. His first report to the all-party Legislative Assembly Management Committee did not end Press Gallery and BC Liberal attacks on Plecas and Mullen. But it did resonate with average British Columbians across the political spectrum.
“We were never saying someone is guilty of one thing or another, there is a prima facie case, there’s reasonable and probable grounds to believe that something’s wrong here and it deserves attention,” Plecas said. “And if it turns out that the person is found not responsible, well good for them.”
The NDP’s Raj Chouhan succeeded independent Plecas in the new parliament this month, but that does not mean Plecas and Mullen have closed the door on the last three years. On Dec. 11, Plecas released his final report, called Unfinished Business, urging lawmakers to continue his anti-corruption campaign. Plecas and Mullen are determined to help more than two dozen ex-Legislature employees find justice after they were fired for blowing the whistle on James, Lenz and other officials over the years.
“These people need to be made whole,” Mullen said. “These people are not in a good place, a lot of them have had serious health concerns because of this, serious mental health concerns because of this and, yeah, some suicidal thoughts.”
Watch the whole video for the explosive interview with the two men who turned the Legislature upside down.
How B.C.’s political media bungled the scandal story
Also, theBreaker.news publishes a detailed report by this reporter that analyzes how the Legislative Press Gallery covered the Clerk and Sergeant-at-Arms scandal.
Like the institution in which it is housed, is the Press Gallery systemically flawed?
Read the report and decide for yourself.
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