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

A Midway RCMP officer and a Grand Forks Search and Rescue volunteer ready a tarpaulin-wrapped burglary suspect for an airlift by a military helicopter Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of Grand Forks Search and Rescue
Grand Forks, Okanagan search and rescue teams helped RCMP at Bridesville airlift

Twelve volunteers provided frontline assistance, according to Grand Forks Search and Rescue

There are few details but neighbours a Second Avenue house in Chilliwack say a huge police presence descended on the home after shots were heard. (File photo)
Robson search warrant yields fentanyl and weapons

Search warrant was part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Bridesville civilian helped Midway RCMP nab burglary suspect

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Boundary Mountie and suspect airlifted from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Update: Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections, 4 in ICU

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital, 4 in intensive care

Boundary Community Food Bank President Mike Wakelin thanked Grand Forks’ first-responders and city employees who donated food last week. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Boundary Food Bank see recent uptick in clients after CERB runs out

President Mike Wakelin said demand plummeted while the benefit was available to working Canadians

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Stock photo courtesy Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca.
Double-murder trial in case of Cranbrook couple killed adjourned until January

The trial was adjourned following an application from the defence related to COVID-19

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

(stock photo)
Josh Dueck named Team Canada chef de mission for 2022 Beijing Paralympics

Dueck, who was born in Kimberley, has a long career in international competition as a sit-skier.

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

Most Read