Only in bizarro British Columbia.
Opposition politicians and their friends in the Victoria press gallery are demanding the replacement of one of the most-senior public employees in the province.
What did he do?
Guard information in an era when the deleting, destroying or disappearing of records has become the subject of scandal, at home and abroad.
The BC Liberals tried again to replace Speaker Darryl Plecas on May 30, the final day of the spring session at the Legislature.
The whistleblower and his chief of staff uncovered waste and corruption in the office of the clerk and sergeant-at-arms that prompted an RCMP investigation last year. Clerk Craig James, who was hired for the job in 2011 by the BC Liberals, resigned in disgrace after he was found in misconduct.
Plecas’s latest “sin”? Exercising his right as the chief administrator at the Legislature to call an IT security expert to back-up hard drives in the office of the acting clerk and acting sergeant-at-arms, who retired at the end of the session.
“We have had at least five separate incidents in recent memory where information, documentation and at times evidence have gone missing. Disappeared into thin air,” Plecas’s chief of staff, Alan Mullen, told host Bob Mackin on this edition of theBreaker.news Podcast. “Whether it be information on computers or hard copies. Information has gone missing and when investigators or other interested parties go looking, we have to say ‘I’m sorry we don’t have that information.’ And why? We have no idea. We didn’t want to be in that position again.”
One-by-one, 37 BC Liberal MLAs denounced Plecas as minutes remained in the session. Only Penticton MLA Dan Ashton refused to read from the script. He urged all leaders, including his own, to come together to solve the problems in the people’s house. (The other four BC Liberal MLAs were absent.)
The last act by the Andrew Wilkinson-led opposition was to leave the chamber early in protest. Something the BC Liberals will regret doing should the RCMP probe yield charges.
Earlier in the day, the BC Liberals offered one of their own MLAs to replace Plecas, but Premier John Horgan was clear that Plecas, the Abbotsford criminologist who became B.C.’s first independent speaker in 2017, was going nowhere.
“To echo John Horgan, we have a speaker,” Mullen said. “His name is Darryl Plecas. And we would not have known any of this information about all the misspending and wrongdoing at the Legislature had it not been for Speaker Darryl Plecas.”
Listen to Mackin’s feature interview with Mullen.
Also, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, more from award-winning journalist and author Terry Glavin. He makes the case for Canada to say no to Huawei, the flagship multinational company of China Inc.
Plus commentaries and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.
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