Support for Speaker split on party lines among politicians


The Speaker at the legislature is threatening to put his job on the line over financial outrage. At a raucous all-party meeting of MLAs Thursday, Darryl Plecas says he wants the offices of key officials audited. Support for the Speaker appears to be split across party lines.  Mary Griffin reports. 

The meeting of MLAs, or the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, is typically sleepy.

But Thursday was anything but as Speaker began his remarks to the members.

“I’ve been reduced to a cartoon character,” Speaker Darryl Plecas said, and again called for a forensic audit of his office, the Clerk of the Legislature’s office, and the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

“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.  It needs to be fixed by the speaker’s office because it hasn’t been fixed for years.”

Plecas lashed out at Liberal House leader Mary Polak. Her questions focused on the investigation that led to the suspension of the legislature’s top two officials.  After the meeting, Polak said it was unusual.

“That was one of the strangest meetings I have ever been involved in, especially when one considers the Speakers role as the chair of that meeting. I really don’t know what to make of it. It was quite shocking,” Polak said.

During the meeting, NDP House Leader Mike Farnworth spoke several times of the need to wait for the conclusion of the RCMP investigation.

“There is an ongoing police investigation,” Farnworth said.

And Green Party House Leader Sonia Furstenau also echoed the need for caution. ”

It behooves us as the LAMC to ensure that we do not in any way undermine the police investigation,” Furstenau said.

Twenty-four hours later, the NDP and Greens remain united in backing the Speaker.

Finance Minister Carole James said she’ll wait for answers.

“I think the Speaker can speak for himself around the comments that he made. But the discussion also, obviously, looked at the events that occurred at the legislature, which is part of an investigation,” James said.

“We have great confidence in the Speaker,” B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said.

“And you know, we’re just waiting to see what is going to transpire from the criminal investigation that apparently is ongoing.”

That may come at the next all-party meeting on Dec. 12.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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