Four days after the release of the bombshell report by the B.C. legislature’s Speaker, Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson finally addressed the scandal on Thursday.

“In order to clear the air, we need to clean house in this institution. And to do that I am asking Premier Horgan to join with me imposing three immediate requirements,” Wilkinson said.

If passed, those requirements would ensure that all legislature staff, not just MLAs, to post their expenses online, restrict foreign travel unless it’s approved six weeks in advance and have the auditor general review the legislature’s accounting procedures.

“What we need to is completely clear the air around here. And the only way to do that is for the partisan sniping to stop so we can all focus on what’s good for British Columbia,” Wilkinson said.

But Premier John Horgan is saying not so fast to changes.

“December of last year, the leader of the opposition called the Speaker a ‘”rogue” and ‘out of control’,” Horgan said.

In November, Wilkinson held a news conference days after the clerk of the legislature, Craig James, and the sergeant-at-arms, Gary Lenz, were escorted out of the building.

“There’s a grave concern that this speaker’s out of control,” Wilkinson said.

With the allegations revealed in the Plecas report, and a looming byelection in Nanaimo, Wilkinson is extending an olive branch.

But it’s more of an opportunity for the current government, according to Unversity of Victoria political scientist Michael Prince.

“He’s trying to take the politics out of a very big political scandal, which his party is deeply implicated in, or alleged to be. This is a gift for the NDP. Who would have thought it would come from the Office of the Speaker,” Prince said.

The premier also had a stern message on Thursday.

“I not allow the elader of the opposition to pretend that this just happened. This is the result of years of entitlement in this institution. It’s offensive to me. It’s offensive to British Columbians,” Horgan said.

 

Mary Griffin