It all started on Wednesday. Speaker Darryl Plecas began copying the hard drives of computers belonging to senior staff, including the acting clerk Kate Ryan Lloyd and acting Sergeant-at-Arms Randy Ennis.
“It’s simply a case of my wanting to make sure that we have data secure on mine and other computers,” Plecas said.
But in a three-hour meeting with Plecas, and the house leaders, Opposition House Leader Mary Polak said the speaker went much further. That he’s investigating the entire legislature’s police force and Ryan Lloyd.
“He believes he has the authority to secure data in preparation for what he says could be an upcoming investigation,” Polak said.
And Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said he’s concerned about what he’s seen at the legislature.
“When I observed the Speaker and Mr. Mullen and this gentleman taking a hard drive into the office at 9:30 p.m. I was sufficiently concerned that I contacted senior staff and said we should be worried about this?” Wilkinson said.
So the Liberals arranged to have a staffer sleep overnight their offices. Plecas’s actions contradict a report by the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada that criticized him for conducting secret investigations at the legislature. But the speaker is making no apologies for anything.
“I have responsibility for security. I’m making sure that we have proper security with respect to data,” Plecas said.
But the Liberals say he has to go.
“Things are reaching a ridiculous state here. Where we have the speaker running his own investigation of his own police force,” Wilkinson said.
Premier John Horgan said Plecas is not going anywhere.
“We have a speaker and it’s not the responsibility of the opposition to say we want a new one,” Horgan said.