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

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

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels after found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read