Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz and Clerk of the House Craig James. (Black Press files)

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

After turning in his keys and phone and before being escorted out of the B.C. legislature by police, Clerk of the House Craig James said one of his first calls would be to a lawyer.

Neither he nor Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz was given any indication of what allegations against them are subject of an RCMP investigation that has gone on since at least September, James said. He and Lenz were summoned by Speaker Darryl Plecas to his office immediately after question period Tuesday and informed they were being placed on administrative leave.

“It’s disturbing,” James said as he emerged from his office with his cycling gear under his arm. “It’s not the way I would have handled it, and I know it would not be the way the sergeant at arms would have handled it, given many illustrious years in the RCMP and other policing agencies.”

As the top administrative and security officials, James and Lenz would normally be the ones in charge of having someone removed, whether politician or staff. James, who started his parliamentary career in Saskatchewan in 1978, said he and Lenz are owed an explanation for their sudden exit.

“Somebody knows something, and I think out of the fairness principle, both Gary and I should be informed being placed on administrative leave exactly what is involved,” James said. “I think it’s very unfair, very unfortunate and very disappointing.”

RELATED: Two prosecutors oversee RCMP investigation at legislature

The legislature session continues until next Tuesday, with a stack of bills that still need debate. The clerk’s role is to provide legal guidance to the speaker and control the flow of paperwork. That duty falls to Kate Ryan-Lloyd, the clerk of committees.

A senior legislature security officer is filling in for Lenz, whose ceremonial duty is to carry the ornate mace into the B.C. legislature to signal the start of proceedings.


@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

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

White Rock council members stand by decision to close pier

Minimal push-back over closure to minimize chance of spreading COVID-19 virus

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read