With the B.C. legislature’s top managers having both resigned, the government is able to move on from a bitter battle over Speaker Darryl Plecas’s accusations of improper spending, Premier John Horgan says.
Horgan was asked to comment on former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz joining clerk Craig James in early retirement, as police investigations drag on into their spending and travel.
“This past year has been a cloud over the heads of many, many people who did not deserve that, so I’m hopeful that we can turn the page,” Horgan said at an event in Surrey Wednesday.
The spring legislature session ended in chaos and rancour as B.C. Liberal MLAs briefly walked out in protest over the latest actions of Plecas, after rising one after another to declare they lacked confidence in his ability to serve as an impartial Speaker.
Plecas had seized senior staff computers to copy them, and criticized the independent report of former Supreme Court of Canada chief Justice Beverley McLachlin into the actions of James and Lenz. Acting sergeant at arms and head of security Randy Ennis quit at the end of the session, and acting clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd was among those whose computers were seized.
Plecas also criticized a report from B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer into legislature spending and travel, and Bellringer announced her resignation effective at the end of 2019.
The legislature resumes sitting Oct. 7 for a two-month fall session. Horgan has indicated his government will table legislation to make B.C. the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is likely to spark debate over the effect on forestry, mining and other land use issues.
Visiting Yukon to start this week, Horgan said his government will also present legislation to keep daylight saving time year-round in B.C. He repeated his caution that despite the popularity of the move, it is important to have West Coast time zones remain synchronized due to airline and other trade connections with Yukon and U.S. states.
Horgan is travelling to Seattle Thursday to meet with Gov. Jay Inslee, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown at the Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference. Both states have passed their own legislation on daylight time, but unlike Canadian provinces, they need U.S. federal approval to make the change.