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HomeMiscellanytheBreaker.news Podcast: Judging B.C.’s Legislature scandal and money laundering plague

theBreaker.news Podcast: Judging B.C.’s Legislature scandal and money laundering plague

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At a news conference last November, the week after he had been suspended for misconduct and escorted from the Legislature, Clerk Craig James feigned ignorance, claimed he did no wrong and demanded his job back.

“I have established processes in the Legislative Assembly that are essentially bulletproof,” James boasted to reporters, while seated near his Peak Communicators public relations advisor, Alyn Edwards, and one of his two Fasken lawyers, Gavin Cameron. Gary Lenz, the suspended sergeant-at-arms, was seated at the same table.

Fast forward to mid-May. Two weeks after the retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, found James committed misconduct. On the eve of James’s certain firing by vote of the Legislature, the 32-year public employee negotiated his retirement. Taxpayers won’t be made whole, but justice could still be served. A police investigation into waste and corruption at the Legislature continues.

McLachlin (left) and Cullen

On this edition, hear how it went down in the Legislature on May 16 and hear the reaction of Speaker Darryl Plecas, who blew the whistle on James and Lenz. Plus host Bob Mackin’s interview with Plecas’s chief of staff, Alan Mullen.

“It has taken a tremendous amount of work and energy to reach this milestone, but we have a ways to go,” Mullen said. “We can only control what we’re doing and what we’re looking at. The police investigation, obviously we will continue to assist them in that investigation.

“We need to make sure whistleblowers are properly heard, and give them time and take them seriously. Since this McLachlin report has come out, there are more people coming out of the woodwork saying ‘oh yeah, I was waiting for this, I’ve got something to say too’.” 

The latest milestone in the scandal at the Legislature came the day after Premier John Horgan finally gave thumbs up to a public inquiry into money laundering.

The last straw was the report a week earlier by former deputy minister Maureen Maloney that estimated $7.4 billion had been laundered in B.C. in 2018, including $5 billion through real estate. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen has a two-year mandate from the Horgan cabinet, and broad powers to order testimony under oath and provision of evidence, so he can get to the bottom of who distorted B.C.’s economy and who left many British Columbians to suffer. Cullen could even call former cabinet members to the stand.

“Some individuals have refused to participate in our reviews voluntarily,” said Attorney General David Eby. “We are done with asking nicely.” 

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