Liberals push for answers from Speaker during meeting at the Legislature


WATCH: For the second week in a row, during meetings involving Legislature business, the opposition Liberals tried to get answers from Speaker Darryl Plecas. Wednesday afternoon, they tried to grill him on his investigation of B.C. Legislature’s top two officials that resulted in their suspension. Mary Griffin reports. 

The Christmas spirit is alive and well outside the legislature. But inside, it’s all politics.

Speaker Darryl Plecas calls the meeting of the B.C. Legislature’s Finance and Audit Committee to order.

“Members, I appreciate the concerns that have been raised by the official opposition,” Plecas said.

But the Liberal opposition members are looking for answers from Plecas.  MLA Jackie Tagert starts off with a line of questioning focusing on the reasons behind the suspension of Craig James, the Clerk of the Legislature, and Gary Lenz, the Sergeant-at-Arms.

“We have the two most senior officers of this Legislature on leave. The Chair has indicated something horrific is occurring. And we have the right to ask questions and expect answers,” Tagert asked.

This meeting of the Legislature’s all-party finance committee is typically held behind closed doors. But the Liberal MLA’s are using this opportunity to grill the Speaker who chairs the committee.

“It’s been indicated, at the meeting last week, that there is an allegation of the books looking at fraud,” Tagert asked.

That prompts Plecas, to clarify.

“I just want to correct something, though. I think there was a point made that there was an allegation of fraud. Looking at books does not necessarily follow that you’re talking about fraud whatsoever,” Plecas said.

But Liberal House Leader Mary Polak is ready.

“I’m going to quote from Hansard from the last meeting. This is what the Speaker had to say: “If the outcome of those audits did not outrage the public, did not outrage taxpayers, did not make them throw up,” Polak said, continuing to quote Plecas from December 6th.

“If the outcome of those audits did not outrage the public, did not outrage, did not make them throw up, I will resign as speaker.”

Before too long, Green House leader Sonia Furstenau interjects to refocus the meeting.

“I would like to further reinforce that we have an agenda. We need to move forward with the agenda and get the work done that we need to do as a committee,” Furstenau said.

The meeting moves on to its next item after a vote.

“Please, could we move on now to what the purpose of this meeting is all about,” Plecas said.

The Liberals MLA’s walk out, having made their points.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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