B.C. legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas (Hansard TV)

B.C. Liberals call for outside audit of Speaker’s office, NDP refuses

Auditor General implicated in Darryl Plecas accusations of impropriety

Opposition MLAs walked out of a committee meeting Wednesday after B.C. legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas and NDP MLAs refused to discuss Plecas’ allegations of financial irregularities and moved on to consider the legislature’s budget for next year.

B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak said the actions of the NDP majority and B.C. Green MLA Sonia Furstenau made it clear they were “colluding” with Plecas to refuse her request to identify what parts of the legislature budget may be “tainted” by the investigation into alleged wrongdoing by senior managers.

Plecas questioned financial reports signed off by Auditor General Carol Bellringer, leaving her unable to audit her own work, Polak wrote in a memo to be tabled at the meeting Wednesday. Plecas has called for a “forensic audit” of the books of the B.C. legislature but hasn’t shared his reasons for doing so.

“In order to re-establish public confidence in our legislature, this forensic audit must be undertaken immediately and with great care, and with guidance from the Auditor General,” the memo states. “However, we must bear in mind that the statements from the Speaker call into doubt previous audits conducted by the Auditor General herself, putting her into a most difficult position, as she cannot conduct a forensic audit on her own work.”

Plecas arranged for the suspension of Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz Nov. 20, citing unspecified suspicions about the operation of the legislature’s $70 million operating budget.

RELATED: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended amid investigation

Chairing a meeting of the legislature’s finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, Plecas said MLAs should deal with the budget first, and his suspicions about finance operations can be discussed at a meeting of the full management committee in January.

Polak said Plecas’ allegations reflect on the operations of the legislature, and passing a budget without discussing them does not make sense.

“We can’t go on pretending that the chair of this committee hasn’t made allegations of financial wrongdoing,” Polak said.

After the meeting, NDP house leader Mike Farnworth accused the B.C. Liberals of “derailing the work of the government for their own political gain.

“It’s clear the B.C. Liberals are more interested in attacking the Speaker than allowing the RCMP and special prosecutors to continue their work unimpeded,” Farnworth said.

The NDP and B.C. Green majority voted down a series of B.C. Liberal motions to delay the process, including seeking a briefing from independent prosecutors appointed to examine the situation.


@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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Kootenay teachers’ union going to labour relations board over COVID-19 related work conditions

Union issues open letter to premier, education minister, health minister and Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Trail market goes garlic

The event goes Saturday in downtown Trail from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Two men killed in Hwy 3 collision west of Castlegar

The single-vehicle incident happened Thursday morning

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read