“There will never, ever, be anything buried here,” said Speaker Darryl Plecas in his gasket-blowing speech to the management committee of the BC Legislature a few days ago. He was responding to – but avoiding meaningful answers to – blunt questions from committee members trying to find out the detailed reasoning behind the suspension of Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz.
Both had been escorted from the Legislature precinct, office keys and codes to confidential files surrendered, pending the results of a freshly launched police investigation and the findings of two special prosecutors, one for each of the suspended officials.
Plecas said he wanted the all-party committee to know that very early in his tenure as Speaker, “very serious concerns were brought to me about certain activities that were taking place within the Legislative Assembly. When I learned of this information, I felt a great duty to safeguard the integrity of this institution and be very mindful of why we’re all here.”
Heavy duty information and so serious that he felt it “imperative for me to act on the information before me.” And act he did, but not by passing the information received to the attorney general for action. He stated: “Given the information is very serious, and the very sensitive nature of the information that was before me, which could potentially be criminal, I believe that I acted appropriately to ensure that the information I had been provided was reliable.”
He acted by calling on an old friend who he hired to check out the information. The old friend was Alan Mullen, and his assignment was “due diligence” on the information to hand and any more that might surface in the process. Plecas was indignant that the press had given Mullen the title of “investigator.”
“Nothing, nothing, nothing could be further from the truth – not even close … I’m sure the police and the special prosecutors will jump forward and tell you that he wasn’t investigating. They would probably also tell you that every single thing he did and I did leading up to giving the police the information was done not well – but perfectly.” I guess if you are awarding yourself the marks in any test, you may as well plump for perfect.
Mullen was so perfect that Plecas once suggested he could become the sergeant-at-arms to replace Lenz. It was an offer quickly rejected. Plecas ended his disjointed speech to the management committee with a prophecy on what will happen as the final curtain falls on British Columbia’s 2018 Christmas Carol with Mullen taking unlimited curtain calls: “I know what’s going to happen at the end of this. People are going to be cheering for Mullen, and they’re going to say ‘whatever you do here at the Legislature, don’t get rid of Mr. Mullen.”
Yes, well, as British novelist Samuel Butler wrote in The Way of All Flesh: “The advantage of doing one’s praising for oneself is that one can lay it on so thick and exactly in the right places.”
As has become customary in modern times, it is incumbent that an audience advisory be posted. Plecas has already warned that when the truth of his and Mullen’s roles are finally made known, the public will physically vomit. If the findings “do not make them throw up, I will resign as Speaker and Mr. Mullen will resign as well.”
Be sure to be standing at the back of the crowd, just in case he’s right.
And to consider while we await the Speaker’s January dishonours list is the less than honourable reaction of the government and the RCMP which leaves two men dangling over Christmas and New Year still unaware of who exactly their accusers are, and what their “potentially criminal” acts have been.
Speaker Plecas has said we can rule out “fraud” so I guess that’s one charge we can bury. Maybe when he gets to check his post Christmas accusation list he’ll find a few more but that will be far too late to undo the damage of “potential” but not proven or even identified, acts of criminality.