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

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

A worker is seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-based animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.
Fraser Valley chicken abuse trial delayed until February

Originally scheduled for a jury trial, Sofina and Chilliwack company now face judge alone

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Most Read