Former B.C. Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas is escorted from the legislative chamber by Clerk of the House Craig James (left) after his surprise election as speaker, Sept. 8, 2017. James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz were suddenly suspended from their duties last week. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press/Pool)

B.C. VIEWS: Speaker Darryl Plecas demonstrates his character again

B.C. legislature speaker’s latest self-serving move is incredible

It almost seems there’s something about putting on the three-cornered hat of Speaker of the B.C. Legislature that causes overheating of the brain underneath.

B.C. Liberal MLA Linda Reid embarked on a spending spree that included renovations and security upgrades to her Richmond constituency office as well as extravagant remodelling of the legislature she found herself ruling over with near-absolute authority.

Before Reid, Penticton MLA Bill Barisoff kept a tight leash on the press gallery and a veil over legislature finances, ruling with an imperial disdain not usually seen in trucking company owners. At least I’d buy a used truck from Barisoff, which is more than I can say for the current occupant of the ornate old speaker’s office, Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas.

We now know that Plecas hired his buddy and campaign worker as a political adviser, a job never before seen in the speaker’s office, and that buddy spent months conducting some sort of amateur gumshoe investigation that burst into the media with the unnecessary public humiliation of two long-serving senior administrators.

Then Plecas tried to get his buddy into the suddenly vacant job of sergeant-at-arms, apparently oblivious to the fact that a long-time deputy with military experience was ready to step into the sensitive job of legislature security chief.

Last year Plecas played a key role in toppling the B.C. Liberals, by seizing the speaker’s job after repeatedly stating he would never do such an unethical, self-serving thing to the voters who elected him. He plotted with the NDP for weeks, as they jockeyed for the key extra vote a defection from the B.C. Liberals would give them.

It’s safe to say the B.C. Liberals don’t like Plecas. He betrayed them for his own personal benefit, after riding their reliable party brand to get re-elected in Abbotsford. New Democrats despise their former colleague Gordon Wilson for similar reasons, although Plecas’s actions were much more sudden and damaging than Wilson’s wandering from party to party over the years.

NDP house leader Mike Farnworth grimly vowed he has confidence in Plecas as speaker. The NDP need Plecas to retain their tenuous hold on power. That need will become critical if the Nanaimo by-election early in the new year goes against the governing party, as they sometimes do in even the “safest” of seats.

RELATED: Lawyer calls for B.C. legislature staff to be reinstated

Here are some things you should know about Alan Mullen, Plecas’s left-hand man. Upon arrival from Ireland in 1994, he went to work on NDP campaigns. Strictly non-partisan, of course, as he describes his current job. He just liked the NDP platform.

Then he got a manager job at Kent federal prison in Agassiz, where he met Plecas, who as the Abbotsford News reported last spring, “moonlighted as a prison judge while teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley.”

As Mullen told it, he and Plecas were involved in “thousands” of adjudications, inmate discipline hearings where Mullen styled himself as prosecutor. Gee, “thousands” seems like a lot, given that Kent has a rated capacity of 378 inmates. Mullen has no legal or police credentials.

RELATED: Who is Alan Mullen, new face in B.C. legislature scandal

Not one but two actual independent prosecutors have been hired to oversee what we are told is now an RCMP investigation into unknown allegations, which could take months or years. It may be a long time before we know if there is anything to the suspicions of a professor-turned-politician and his sidekick.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press Media. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

HISTORY: How did Mission cope with the Spanish flu

In 1918, a different world-wide pandemic was being dealt with

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry hails work done to halt outbreak, which saw more than 130 people contract COVID-19

Man who broke into Abbotsford post office receives four more months in jail

Gary Patrick Richard sentenced for break-in and mail theft from April 20

Chilliwack teachers and EAs concerned with health and safety plans

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

Police say Chilliwack driver who flipped car on overpass Sunday was impaired

Witnesses say rollover incident was preceded by vehicle and motorcycles speeding all over town

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read