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)

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

Port Hardy Rotary Christmas Float. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Rotary float returns to Port Hardy to spread much needed Christmas cheer

The Christmas Cheer Float is a festively decorated full-size semi-tractor.

Email letters to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish online and in print.
LETTER: Fish farms boost North Island economy

“… our local jobs, local taxation revenue, and the like will disappear!”

Port McNeill RCMP will be holding the sixth annual Cram the Cruiser fundraiser Dec. 6 in the IGA parking lot from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Port McNeill RCMP photo)
Cram the Cruiser is returning to Port McNeill in December

This is the sixth year the fundraiser has been held in the North Island.

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read