Richmond South Centre MLA Linda Reid is in her seventh term, the longest-serving MLA in the B.C. legislature. (Hansard TV)

B.C. legislature deputy speaker Linda Reid to give up duties

Suspended officers reject allegations of speaker Darryl Plecas

After being defended for her expense claims made to the B.C. legislature, veteran Richmond South Centre MLA Linda Reid is expected to give up her current role as assistant deputy speaker next week.

Reid, first elected in 1991 and now B.C.’s longest-serving current MLA, was speaker from 2013 to 2017, a role with sweeping authority over legislature operations. She was named by current Speaker Darryl Plecas in his report on alleged improprieties released in January.

A spokesperson for the B.C. Liberal caucus said that while allegations against her have been shown to be false, Reid is concerned that her continuing to preside over chamber proceedings may only add to the lack of trust swirling around the legislature.

The spring session begins Feb. 12 with Premier John Horgan’s throne speech, setting out the minority government agenda for the coming year.

Plecas cited an unnamed former legislature staff member he described as a “whistleblower,” who claimed he was fired after questioning Reid’s expense claims for mileage and taxi fares for the same trip.

“This is not true,” Clerk of the House Craig James wrote in his formal response to Plecas’ report, which was leaked to The Vancouver Sun this week.

RELATED: Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

RELATED: Campaign to recall Speaker Darryl Plecas launched

The response is now in the hands of a committee of MLAs who must decide if James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz should remain on paid suspension while police investigate Plecas’s allegations. Lenz, a former RCMP officer who checked the expense claims, made his own submission to refute the suggestion that he obstructed the investigation to cover for Reid.

Reid’s expenses were for a taxi to the Helijet terminal in Vancouver and vehicle mileage after she arrived in Victoria, Lenz wrote, describing a simple check of receipts on file. “I have never been asked to stop any investigation that I conducted at the legislature,” wrote Lenz, who is a “special provincial constable” in charge of security.

Reid and Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan are deputies of Plecas, presiding over committee debates and relieving Plecas as speaker in an increasingly bitter legislature. James’s description of Plecas’s conduct can only add to that.

“The Speaker and I did have a difference of views as to how to best handle rancorous matters in the house, the Speaker on more than one occasion saying to me that he did not wish to follow my advice regarding disciplining a [cabinet] minister or government private member because ‘he did not want to upset the NDP,’” James wrote.

“In addition to our discussion regarding the operation and management of the Legislative Assembly, a frequent topic of conversation with the new Speaker was the potential for ‘recall’ proceedings.”

Plecas is facing a recall campaign in Abbotsford South. He was kicked out of the B.C. Liberal Party after he reversed his promise to refuse the job of speaker, which gave the minority NDP a crucial extra vote after the 2017 election left a minority parliament supported by three B.C. Green MLAs.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Barlow Creek 4-H gives back

As part of Club to Club Exchange, 4-H members repaired and refinished bleachers at Alex Fraser Park

Quesnel River Archers win eight medals in Vanderhoof

Dan Yalowega won the meet’s hunter round

Forestry Ink: Recent government reports should help logging contractors and truck drivers

Columnist Jim Hilton looks at recommendations from a logging contractor sustainability review

Prince George RCMP seize firearms in Highway 97 arrest

The suspects were in a vehicle that was reported stolen to the Quesnel RCMP on July 11

Quesnel is getting a new junior school

Education Minister Rob Fleming announced a new school will be built on the Maple Drive site

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Most Read