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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Iconic white raven returns to Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Photographer John Domovich: ‘It blew me away when I first observed it’

Parksville’s Summer by the Sea event starts June 30

‘We are looking forward to providing a vibrant market’

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Parcel stolen from front porch, Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect

Unidentified woman allegedly stole package containing $400 smart watch

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

Most Read