Milobar calls for more transparency on legislature controversy

By James Peters
November 28, 2018 - 7:00am

VICTORIA — The fall session of the BC legislature ended with the Liberal opposition pressing the NDP government for more information on the unfolding controversy surrounding the legislature itself.

Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz are under suspension after the legislature was informed that they are under investigation by the RCMP.

Meantime, Speaker Darryl Plecas is under fire for his hiring of a special advisor who investigated James and Lenz.

In question period Tuesday, Liberals MLAs pressed the government for more information, but were rebuffed repeatedly, with cabinet ministers saying it is inappropriate for them to comment on a matter under criminal investigation.

Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar says his party isn't looking for sensitive information.

"We're not seeking to get any insight into the special prosecutor or any police investigation. We're not asking questions around those types of scenarios. We're asking who got hired at what point, and who knew what, when," said Milobar.

The legislature is now on break until February, meaning MLAs won't get to press for information again until that time.

Milobar worries the public won't know anything at all about the situation for years, considering how long an RCMP investigation could take.

"It's really too bad that they've chosen to try to hide behind the police investigations underway," said Milobar. "Are they saying that no one has a right to know anything in terms of staff hirings in this buildings for the next several years as this unfolds?"

James and Lenz told the media on Monday they still don't know what they are being investigated for, and want their jobs back.

While some British Columbians may consider the controversy limited to the legislature precinct itself, Milobar says it does have a wider impact.

"I think there's an impact across the province from something like this. It really does speak to the core operation of the legislature building itself. It speaks to proper process in terms of hiring processes, proper authorities around expenditures and making sure that people who have been charged with overseeing things are being properly informed," said Milobar.

"When you stop having that, you start to have the potential for individuals to act unilaterally without proper authorities in place. That's a dangerous place for any democracy to go."

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