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

Revelstoke’s Free Arts Sessions in the Park program is collecting letters for isolated seniors this holiday season. The deadline to submit a letter is Dec. 8. (Submitted photo)
Write a letter to someone in isolation this holiday season

Revelstoke’s Free Arts in the Park program is collecting letters for seniors

Movie crews filmed a holiday parade in Summerland in July. The parade, filmed on Main Street in Summerland, is for the movie, The Christmas Yule Blog. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Vehicle damaged on Nov. 27 on East Boundary Road in West Kelowna. (Photo - Brooke Woodman)
Man arrested after allegedly smashing vehicle windows and stealing in West Kelowna

A man was seen throwing rocks at vehicles on East Boundary Road in West Kelowna on Nov. 27

Lauren Shular shows the Apexico Tshirts she designed and is selling
UBC Okanagan student says ‘if can’t go to Mexico – head to Apexico’

Apex family have designed fun Tshirts that are flying off the cabin shelves

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Most Read