MLAs issue directions to retired chief justice for investigation of alleged misspending at BC Legislature


WATCH: The latest twist in the ongoing saga at the B.C. legislature now includes a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Beverley McLachlin will conduct an investigation of allegations of misspending by two top officials. She’s expected to report back to the legislature May 3. Mary Griffin reports.

Government House Leader Mike Farnworth introduced a motion in the legislature Thursday to appoint former Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin to investigate alleged misspending at the legislature.

“I move that the Right Honorable Beverley McLachlin conduct a confidential, and impartial, and independent investigation into allegations concerning the clerk, Craig James, and the sergeant-at-arms, Gary Lenz,” Farnworth said.

The appointment was unanimous among the MLAs.  Now the focus is on the McLachlin investigation, according to Farnworth.

“We laid out that there were a number of areas that we said, you know what, these are of particular concern to the members of the committee. And we know for members of the legislature,” Farnworth said.

Those specific areas of concern are: Did Lenz and James receive improper payouts of vacation pay and retirement allowances? Did they make personal purchases, and charge them to the legislature? Did they remove property belonging to the legislature, such as the infamous wood splitter and trailer for personal use?

Speaker Darryl Plecas alleged in his report that James and Lenz spent lavishly on international trips, and bought personal items, such as suits, and watches and expensed them to the legislature. His chief of staff, Alan Mullen, said McLachlin’s appointment is good news.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic. And I mean, surprised to get someone of her calibre. It’s tremendous. And it just gives and shows that LAMC (Legislative Assembly Management Committee) and the legislative assembly are totally committed to getting this right,” Mullen said.

McLachlin will review all the reports submitted by the Speaker, James, and Lenz, and call any relevant witnesses. She’s expected to complete her report by May 3.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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