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

Nanaimo dentists donate 4,000 masks, 25,000 gloves to health-care peers

Nanaimo District Dental Society collects items for front-line workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Electric bike worth $3,000 stolen in Nanaimo’s north end

Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect who cut lock and rode off with e-bike Monday

Thieves taking advantage of empty streets, say Nanaimo RCMP

Police offer crime prevention reminders during COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo merchants struggle to find a new ‘business as usual’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Some businesses trying to make do with delivery, takeout or online sales

Nanaimo first responders salute health-care workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Emergency services workers sounded their sirens Monday night outside NRGH

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Most Read