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B.C. premier under fire for handling of misspending allegations, shredded documents

Last Updated Oct 9, 2019 at 3:58 pm PDT

FILE - B.C. Premier John Horgan, July 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – British Columbia’s premier says when allegations of misspending against two senior legislature officers were brought to his staff, he stayed out of it.

A report released Tuesday on the investigation into then-Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz revealed John Horgan’s office knew of the allegations months before Lenz and then-Clerk of the House Craig James were ousted from the legislature.

RELATED: Former Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz lied during misspending investigation: report

It says a meeting that included Speaker Darryl Plecas and his deputy, Raj Chouhan, was held July 30, 2018, when a report of between 40 and 50 pages “with a long list of allegations” was produced and given to Horgan’s chief of staff, Geoff Meggs.

Despite reports those documents were shredded, Horgan says he supports how it was handled.

“I said I do not want to be involved in any way in allegations against the clerk of this place because it was well known that I didn’t like the guy and I didn’t think he should be appointed,” Horgan told reporters on Wednesday. “It turns out I was prescient in that matter.”

Horgan says he knew that when it came to James, he had to steer clear. Meggs stepped in and Horgan says his chief of staff shredded the documents after he heard the concerns were being taken to police.

Now, the leader of the province’s Liberal party has sent the premier a letter calling for Meggs to be fired for the way he handled those documents.

“Mr. Meggs has admitted to shredding the evidence presented to him,” Andrew Wilkinson’s letter says. “The is indefensible, as it his obligation to bring possible criminal activity to the attention of the police. Mr. Meggs’ conduct is an inexcusable obstruction of the judicial process. We are calling for you as Premier to put your friendship aside, do what is right for the people of British Columbia, and immediately terminate your Chief of Staff, Geoff Meggs.”

The premier’s chief of staff responded, saying there were multiple copies of Plecas’ documents.

“I was in no position to verify the allegations, and the Premier’s Office is rightly not involved in administration of the Legislative Assembly,” Meggs says in a statement. “The document that I reviews was not evidence, but a copy of a summary of internal investigations conducted by the Speaker’s Office. There was no supporting documentation or back-up material. As the report was a duplicate and had nothing to do with the business of government, I disposed of the copy of the report.”

With files from the Canadian Press