B.C. legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas says his office turned over information to the police that was not included in his explosive report. Speaking to CKNW’s Simi Sara, Plecas alluded to the public getting more information about the ongoing RCMP investigation by the end of March.
“I think there is lots more that will be coming out with respect to police,” Plecas told Sara. “It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to discuss the details of that right now. I know there are other things we went to the police with. Not everything we were aware of were presented in that report.”
LISTEN: Darryl Plecas speaks to the Simi Sara show:
Two special prosecutors have been assigned as part of the ongoing investigation into legislature clerk Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz. The pair have been given until Thursday to provide a response to the findings in the Plecas Report to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.
The allegations in the Plecas Report have not been proven but many of the expenses detailed in the report were supported by receipts. The report accuses the senior staff of the legislature of misspending public funds, including a retirement allowance payout to James even though he didn’t retire, as well as allegations of legislature staff being fired without cause for raising concerns.
“We have lots to do in fundamentally changing workplace culture,” Plecas said. “We need to have leadership at the legislature, not on the political side but on the corporate side where leaders serve as an absolute example of a guardian of taxpayer dollars.”
Three of the province’s top watchdogs, the Merit Commissioner, Privacy Commissioner and ombudsperson have called on legislative changes that would increase accountability at the legislature. The changes include whistleblower legislation, access through freedom of information to expenses from legislature’s senior staff and the ability to review hiring practices within the legislature.
WATCH: (Aired Feb. 5) Watchdogs release plan for accountability in wake of legislature spending scandal
Plecas says he is supportive of the suggestions and suggests the government would have been interested in making changes earlier but didn’t do so because “it is so caught up in a fear of what would happen politically.”
“There are so many things that are fundamentally wrong. And the only thing that is going to fix this permanently is doing some of the kind of things that were just proposed by the privacy commissioner, the ombudsperson and the merit commissioner,” Plecas said. “If there is one thing that has been a benefit from this report is that it has been a catalyst for making real, significant change.”
WATCH: (Aired Jan. 22) Global News exclusive with whistleblower from legislature scandal report
British Columbia’s Auditor General Carol Bellringer is also in the very early stations of an internal audit ordered by the legislative management committee. Plecas says he has met with Bellringer about the audit.
“I have had some great conversations with the auditor general, I spent hours with her and some of her staff, and I am confident she will be looking at a number of things. So far people have looked at this and said this is an examination of expenses. That is not even close to being the case,” Plecas said.
The speaker and his chief of staff Alan Mullen have been looking into concerns at the legislature for more than a year. Plecas says he knew there were issues from the moment he walked into the speaker’s office.
“It was a whole series of things that were red flags for me regarding the honesty of the people in leadership positions,” Plecas said. “The more I started to pay real attention, the more obvious it became that we had a serious problem.”