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Speaker of B.C. legislature says he will quit if audit results don't 'outrage' the public

Last Updated Dec 6, 2018 at 5:44 pm PDT

(Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130)

VICTORIA — The Speaker of British Columbia’s legislature says he’ll resign if financial audits being done don’t result in outrage from the public and taxpayers.

Darryl Plecas made his statements during an all-party committee meeting that is grappling with the fallout of a police investigation that saw the legislature’s top two officials placed on administrative leave. He said previous speakers had been criticized for not being attentive to the public purse, but “you will not be saying that about me at the end of my tenure.”

He says the committee can’t discuss the reasons behind the investigation but welcomed an audit.

“If the outcome of those audits did not outrage the public, did not outrage taxpayers, did not make them throw up: I will resign as speaker,” Plecas said.

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He said that it was the wish of his colleagues to get him out of there as quickly as possible, and so he was willing to get moving on the audit.

“Let’s do this fast, let’s not get back in February without any of this on the table, because this is also hurtful to this institution,” he said. “We can’t be expected to run normal operations with this non-stop accusations of wrongdoing on behalf of the Speaker’s Office, non-stop attacking of a legislative employee who is simply doing his job.”

Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and house clerk Craig James were escorted from the building last month after the members of the legislature voted unanimously to place them on administrative leave because of the RCMP investigation.

Lenz and James have denied any wrongdoing and their lawyer has demanded they be allowed to return to their jobs while the investigation continues.

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Plecas says soon after he was appointed Speaker last year he was made aware of issues that warranted him to do his due diligence on behalf of taxpayers.

The lawyer for Lenz and James couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Two special prosecutors were appointed on Oct. 1, but the RCMP has not commented beyond stating the investigation involves “the activities of senior staff at the British Columbia legislature.”