BC Liberal MLA Linda Reid has announced she will not be running in the next provincial election.
Reid has been under fire over her role in the B.C. legislature spending scandal. She was criticized for not doing an interview with former Vancouver deputy police chief Doug LePard for his investigation into alleged stolen alcohol at the B.C. legislature.
“After 28 years of service to British Columbia and to the people of Richmond South Centre, I have decided that I will not be seeking re-election,” Reid said in a statement.
“My priority throughout my career as an elected member of my community has been to encourage young people, especially women, to get involved in politics. I’m passionate about creating opportunities for a new generation of British Columbians to run for office – which is why I have made this difficult decision.”
LePard wanted to talk to Reid about what she knew about the liquor. She had taken over as Speaker two months after the alleged incident.
“On July 22, 2019, I sent an email to MLA Linda Reid seeking a brief interview,” LePard wrote. “On July 27, Ms. Reid responded by email that she was away for a few weeks and directed me to her counsel.”
Reid’s lawyer responded to written questions and no interview took place.
Reid is the longest serving member of the B.C. legislature. She was first elected in 1991 as part of the first wave of BC Liberals.
Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson told reporters he expected his MLAs to speak to investigators if requested.
“Linda made her decision clear today. She had a distinguished career here and we thank her for her service,” Wilkinson said.
She served as Speaker from 2013 to 2017. During her time in the role, she was criticized for excessive spending, including overseas travel, a new desk in the legislative chamber equipped with a pricey touch-screen computer terminal, and a $734 display case for coffee, muffins, and other free snacks.
“I am looking forward to continuing my work representing the people of Richmond South Centre, as well as remaining BC Liberal Critic for Seniors,” Reid said.
“I know the voices of our experienced MLAs are incredibly valuable within the BC Liberals, as we build a team that can represent and deliver opportunity for all of BC – and I am very happy to support this team as we move forward.”
Reid’s announcement was released at the same time as the provincial government speaking to reporters about historic UNDRIP legislation. NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon thanking Reid for her service but confused about why she would use Thursday as the day for her announcement.
“How disappointing and how disrespectful it is for someone to do that when we are talking about reconciliation,” Kahlon said.
In the Plecas Report, which looked into misspending at the legislature, an anonymous whistleblower alleged Reid asked him to file what he described as an inappropriate expense. Following an interview with Global News, the whistleblower was identified as Connor Gibson.
“I was told just to process them, they were around filing taxi and mileage on the same day, which is not quite possible,” Gibson said. “In terms of the claims I am concerned about, the value is very small but to me the amount doesn’t matter. It’s about doing the right thing.”
Gibson says he raised his concerns with Plecas’ special adviser Alan Mullen.
Former chief justice Beverley McLachlin cleared Reid of misconduct in her report looking into the allegations.
–With files from the Canadian Press