Saturday , October 16 2021

Rob Shaw: NDP and Liberals use besieged speakers for proxy war

VICTORIA – When Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas defected from B.C. The Liberal Party last year became Chair of the House of Representatives, he told local newspapers that he would work hard to overcome the damage done to his credibility.

"When I say, this is a good job for me, that is because it is a direct blow to impartiality, this is a direct blow to being non-partisan," he told Tyler Olsen of Abbotsford News in the story of September 13, 2017.

"I can contribute by helping members and ensuring that our way of dialogue is productive.

"People will still respect the office and it is my duty to show that I can be impartial, that I will not be unfair to anyone."

Fourteen months later, whatever work Plecas did to restore credibility, everything disappeared in a week of drama that was unprecedented in the legislature.

As more is expressed about the legislative crisis, one thing is clear: Plecas is at the center. He hired his friend / official Alan Mullen campaign to conduct a secret investigation into the two highest-ranking building staff, suggesting that the MLA suspend the pair without revealing his involvement or investigation, attempting to personally install Mullen to one of the vacated jobs, and then allowing Mullen to call the Victoria police and made an embarrassing farewell from two senior officials (Craig James scribe and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz) out of the legislature at midday in front of MLA, staff and media stunned.

What does this mean? Only Plecas really knows. And MLA for Abbotsford South, who once promised transparency and justice to restore its credibility, did not speak.

On the contrary, Plecas has used five dodgeball rules in handling public questions: dodging, swooping, diving, ducking and dodging. The press gallery took a rare step to blockade its office to get comments last week.

"I'm not sure you have the right story," Plecas told the crowd. "I'm sure you will feel interesting what I have to say this afternoon." But when 2 PM is scheduled. the press conference rolled in, Plecas opened his office door, darted in the hallway and disappeared from view, giving up on his own show.

In the real world, outside the crazy bubble that is a legislative body, the process of human resources as dysfunctional and confidential as Plecas designed might raise questions about his own future work. But this is politics. Normal logic does not apply.

Instead, the public was caught in a proxy war between the Liberal war machine and the NDP, with Plecas at the center.

The NDP seems intent on saving Plecas. But only because it benefits the position of the ruling party. NDP home leader Mike Farnworth personally asked Plecas to stay away from Liberal last year, and was unable to lose him now. A close vote at home and a towering selection of Nanaimo means the NDP-Green coalition can lose control if Plecas explodes.

Farnworth and the inaugural office have fingerprints throughout the place to install Wally Oppal as a new special advisor at the Plecas office last weekend. But Oppal's main role is to stop bleeding public relations when the shark circle is in the water. This was evidenced by the availability of Oppal's first media, where he described Plecas as "a smart, intelligent person with a great academic background," who "did nothing in a changeable way" and "it was rather unfair in view to double-check the Speaker. "

Anyone who hopes Oppal is there to act in the best interest of the public and sort out this chaos quickly disappears from that idea. Obviously, he is not Ted Hughes.

At the weekend, supporters of NDP social media en masse began pumping Plecas' tires while insinuating that James and Lenz must have done something terrible, or the police would not investigate them.

This is the same kind of trash logic that people use to spread about the eight health researchers who were fired by the Liberal government in 2012 – they must have done something wrong to be fired and the government said they were under police investigation. Apparently they were wrongly accused. But we didn't find out until almost five years later, and after one of them, Roderick MacIssac, took his own life under a cloud of shame and public suspicion. At that time, liberal supporters insinuated them must be dirty.

B.C Ombudsperson Produce long reports with recommendations to prevent such injustices from happening again when someone is accused of making a mistake. This establishes clear steps to protect the fundamental right to a fair process and is considered innocent until proven guilty.

But Premier John Horgan rejected any comparison with last week's health dismissal. He said that the situation was different – an argument that showed the ombudsperson's recommendations were only intended to be valid the next time eight health researchers were fired because of the same charges under the same circumstances in the Ministry of Health. That is not true. The change was intended to be applied to all civil servants in all situations.

Things like murky on B.C. The liberal side of proxy war.

Liberals still hold deep grudges for what they accuse is a misleading way. Plecas took the speaker in 2017 – telling them that he would not take the job, then not show the Liberal caucus meeting, avoid calling from the leader and finally sit alone. in the room until the appointment is confirmed. They clearly want to use this vulnerable situation in the crisis as an opportunity to overthrow it.

Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson had suggested Plecas mislead them by holding his role in chaos and that his party was "taken to be ridden" by the Speaker.

Liberals have called for an urgent emergency meeting of the legislative management committee, and issued a list of nearly a dozen questions they wanted the NDP to answer about what legal advice Farnworth had given him before he met with other party house leaders on this issue. a week ago. The question is valid. But their political ambitions were also clear – revenge for Plecas by destroying his reputation, while undermining Farnworth, Horgan and Attorney General David Eby if possible.

Keep motivation from the NDP and Liberal in mind when you witness a legislative scandal.

Also remember James and Lenz have not been accused of any crime. The charges against them remain unknown, even for them, according to their lawyers. Nothing was tested in court. The RCMP has confirmed that they are investigating the material Mullen said, and two special prosecutors were named to protect any perception of political disturbances. But as history shows, that does not mean the public has a clue what actually happened.

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