Former judge Wally Oppal added to B.C. legislature investigation

Speaker Darryl Plecas promises reporters update, then cancels

B.C. legislature speaker Darryl Plecas is bringing in a second “special advisor” to help him navigate the investigation of senior administrators, former B.C. Supreme Court judge and attorney general Wally Oppal.

Plecas sent out his first advisor, Alan Mullen, to deliver a terse statement to reporters waiting outside his office Thursday afternoon. Plecas had earlier promised to make his first public statement on the sudden suspension of Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz on Tuesday, but then cancelled.

James and Lenz were relieved of their keys and phones and escorted from the legislature by police while it was in session Tuesday morning. Mullen then announced that an investigation he had assisted with since he was hired by Plecas in January had been turned over to the RCMP.

No reason for the suspensions were given, either publicly or to James and Lenz, who were escorted out of the legislature by police and placed in indefinite “administrative leave” with pay.

Thursday morning, B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak disclosed that Plecas had called a meeting with her, NDP house leader Mike Farnworth and B.C. Green house leader Sonia Furstenau to prepare for the suspensions.

Polak said the meeting was to prepare for the announcement of two special prosecutors to assist with an RCMP investigation of unspecified allegations against James and Lenz. During the meeting, Plecas asked if Mullen could be appointed acting sergeant at arms, a suggestion immediately rejected as inappropriate by Polak and Farnworth.

RELATED: Speaker tried to appoint friend as sergeant at arms

RELATED: Former prison official Alan Mullen worked for NDP

On Thursday, the legislature approved a motion to appoint Deputy Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd as acting clerk of the house, a key independent officer position that manages legislative proceedings and administers the $70 million budget for the legislature and constituencies.

Deputy Sergeant at Arms Randall Ennis was appointed to fill in for Lenz, in charge of security for the legislature.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wouldn’t comment on whether Mullen should continue as a political advisor to Plecas, a previously unknown role, appointed without the knowledge of MLAs.

“I think all of us are concerned to find out that there had been a seven-month long investigation by someone with no legal training or policing experience, and that this was being effectively hidden from the accountable assembly, which is the legislature,” Wilkinson said.

Farnworth said Thursday he still has confidence in Plecas as speaker, an appointment Farnworth orchestrated at the outset of the minority NDP government last year that resulted in Plecas being expelled from the B.C. Liberal Party.


@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

Williams Lake City Council and community pressure lead to GPS monitoring of six prolific offenders

Counc. Scott Nelson said he is happy at this result and hopes to build on momentum

Local talent shines at Hometown Hip-Hop concert

Williams Lake’s own hip-hop and rap community are still as passionate and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Donations pour in for family who lost father, son in fatal crash on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also led police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

‘It’s like he just vanished’: Quesnel man still missing, last seen two months ago

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Most Read