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.

Just Posted

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

West Kootenay afternoon storms spark fires

Lots of thunder and lightning, and little rain, as system moves through region

Rainbow Road

Nakusp cuts ribbon on rainbow crosswalk

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused B.C. cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Most Read