Former Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin has been tapped to undertake an independent investigation as Special Investigator into the Plecas Report.
McLachlin has been asked by the three B.C. legislature house leaders to look into the allegations put forward in the Plecas Report, the response from clerk Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz, and Plecas’ rebuttal.
“This investigation is a fact-finding to determine whether Craig James, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, or Gary Lenz, Sergeant-at-Arms, engaged in misconduct in the course of their employment as permanent officers of the Legislative Assembly, as outlined in reports by Speaker Darryl Plecas that have been publicly released by the Legislative Assembly Management Committee,” reads a release from the B.C. Legislature.
On Thursday, the legislature approved McLaughlin’s appointment. She is being asked specifically to investigate five separate allegations against Lenz and James and whether they amount to misconduct:
- If they improperly (and knowingly) received improper payouts of vacation pay by reason of their failure to record vacation leave.
- If they improperly made purchases of a personal nature and expensed them to the legislature.
- If they improperly claimed and received retirement allowances.
- If they improperly removed legislature assets and property.
- If they improperly used legislature property beyond an incidental or reasonable work-related purpose.
In February the Legislative Assembly Management Committee voted in favour of an independent review.
McLachlin will ensure that the investigation process respects the rules of “procedural fairness and natural justice.” The former chief justice is expected to present a final report to the House Leaders by May 3.
The legislature is then expected to decide whether James and Lenz should either remain on paid leave; placed on leave without pay; reinstated to their jobs; or fired.
The pair have been accused of misspending public money and there is a current RCMP investigation underway.
James and Lenz have denied all wrongdoing.