Still too timid to act

Too timid to act? was published here previously and reprinted in the September/October issue of Watershed Sentinel magazine.

Further time has passed with little or no progress in addressing corruption in British Columbia.  In addition to the collapse of a high profile money laundering prosecution, we have serious questions raised about senior non-political officers of the Legislature.

Years ago, after the Auditor General berated Legislative management, we should have had reforms that ensured impeccable financial controls. This clear message is from the AG’s 2012/13 Report 12:

[Audits] identified numerous problems related to management overriding of controls, inadequate documentation and inadequate oversight of management.

According to some in Victoria – not including Craig James – stringent controls have not been put in place. On December 6, Speaker Plecas told the Legislative Assembly Management Committee:

Very serious concerns were brought to me about certain activities that were taking place within the Legislative Assembly. When I learned of this information, I felt a great duty to safeguard the integrity of this institution…

Speaker vows to resign if taxpayers not outraged by clerk and sgt-at-arms spending

The Auditor General has yet to report on Legislative Assembly finances for the fiscal year that ended last March and now, because of Plecas, two independent Special Prosecutors are supervising an RCMP investigation into operations within BC’s Parliament.

Freelance reporter Bob Mackin wrote that BC’s Legislature was a scandal waiting to happen and he quoted journalism professor and former Legislative reporter Sean Holman about the significant potential for abuse. Mackin blames excessive secrecy and lack of transparency:

Unlike government ministries and Crown corporations, the Legislature is excluded from the freedom of information law. The people’s house is largely a mystery to the people that own it.

Former Auditor General John Doyle had a habit of talking bluntly and that displeased BC Liberals. In the referenced report, he offered prescriptions for improved management. They were largely ignored:

Had the Legislative Assembly acted earlier by adopting some of my Office’s recommendations such as implementing strong financial management controls, strengthening LAMC oversight and consulting subject matter experts then these issues could either have been prevented, or detected and addressed internally.

In the previous article, I noted that a culture of “don’t much care” has developed among senior people responsible for managing public funds. At the Legislature, that seems to have been the attitude.

Anyone watching the response of corporate media should be wondering why there has been such a concerted effort to denigrate Darryl Plecas for exercising due diligence after concerns were spoken by a whistleblower. Obviously, during his review, the Speaker saw enough to call police.

Criticism of Plecas by Liberals, pundits and commentators is partisan. Do they believe Plecas should have done nothing, like his predecessor? Should the senior Legislative officers been left in place and able to influence information given police investigators?

Think back to the nineties. When questions were raised about the infamous fast-ferry construction program, media was relentless in covering the story. Protecting the public interest and informing the citizenry were objectives.

Today, media intent seems to be protection of the suspended officers and the political party that had them appointed  and supervised their work.

Categories: Corruption, Ethics

Tagged as: ,

18 replies »

  1. Good Grief! Both their salaries have more than doubled in six years? Because their workloads increased? Because of COL increases? Because they could?
    And their expenses skyrocketed! Dry cleaning costs go up?
    And then they go on to collect a pension!
    The cost of ‘democracy’ sure is expensive!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Govt of the day treated John Doyle ? bullied and tried to shut him up could not get rid of him fast enough and made sure he was gagged before he returned to Australia,New Zealand. Too bad John was too honest for the Libs I have a feeling some of them are mixed up in all of this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I support Plecas. Too bad some one hasn’t started selling t-shirts in time for Christmas . Might be good sellers.

    Just looking at the salaries was enough to make me choke. When I see salary increases like this, my first thought always is, who is buying whom off. These types of positions ought not to be paid too much more than an MLA, in my opinion.

    When I first saw the news on the topic, my though was, omg, Plecas found something and he might have known where some bodies were buried. Then I re read some of Laila Yuille’s posts from 2014. Explained a lot. Personally don’t know Plecas, only his work and his public persona when he commented on t.v. prior to becoming a politician. My take on it was, Plecas wouldn’t be endangering his entire body of work and career, to do something stupid. The NDP hadn’t been in office long enough to have done something that wrong, that fast, etc. So that brought it back to the Socreds/B.C. Lieberals. Then I recall that one expense item of Christy Clark, while she and Pammy were swanning about Asia on our dime, $700.00 or there abouts for a room service charge for breakfast. Never quite got over that one, but I did figure out how that could happen, having stayed in hotels quite a bit.

    Then when the B.C. Lieberals started getting their nickers in a knot and the media started a research project on Mullen, I knew it had to be something “really, really good”.

    I don’t blame Plecas for hiring Mullen. He needed to be able to trust some one and I don’t care if he drank in the past. if nothing else the B.C. Lieberals and media are acting like a bunch of hippircrits. I’ve been following B.C. politics since the 1950s, over the course of all this time, I’ve heard and seen it all with the various political parties, especially the Socreds/B.C. Lieberals. Do they remember Gordon Campbell getting that drunken driving charge in Maui,

    Let the B.C. Lieberals clean up their own house before they start attacking Plecas and Mullen. wonder what a list of names of Socreds and B.C. Lieberals who drank to excess would look like?

    Nice post! Its really time some one had a realllllly good look at some things, perhaps now we will see what has been going on. Mr. Plecas has bet his career on this. He is not a stupid man and he is not a “glory hound”:, so my money bets, the Socreds/B.C. Lieberals are not going to come out of this looking very good and perhaps the media will not be spared either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That was my take too, that Darryl Plecas is a man with good values and would act to uphold those values.

      All the ginned-up “outrage” from the Liberals and their media stooges really makes me think there is a deep stinky mess there.

      The salary and travel expenses for James and Lenz are disgusting. As my dad used to say “pigs at the public trough”.

      And meanwhile we have many British Columbians are trying to survive on very low-incomes: seniors, single parents, children, so many people who are homeless in very corner of this Province. Not even having enough to eat.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Norm for reporting on this issue and flagging it on Twitter.

    You have done ten times the reporting on this situation compared to the lame stream media who are hell-bent on protecting their buddies (shades of BC Rail!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bless you Norman for being who you are!
    Thank you to the other commenters for insightful comments.
    Massive Blessings on the LAMC corruption whistleblower!
    AG Doyle called out financial irregularities (ahem) at the Leg years back. BCLibs attacked, smeared, & fired him to silence his honesty.
    Any behaviour that is allowed, escalates… so how bad is it now?
    RCMP had better contact previous AG Doyle for info.

    Been hearing a lot of anger at RCMP over the ‘charges stayed’ for Billion $ money laundering that destroyed BC’s livability. Years of tax$ wasted so that on the eve of the trial it all vanishes ?!?!
    There had better be charges of some kind laid this time. How can there not be after this many years of issues being called out?
    Between BCLibs, media that is their press release team, and RCMP uselessness, BC makes the Wild West look tame.
    We are going to find out once and for all how corrupt those who are supposed to protect us are.
    We must not be treated as the ‘noise’ BCLibs have called us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • some times, and not very often a case can not go forward because some one refuses to testify or the Crown can not “expose” the person testifying. Now that may be in the case you mentioned. Of course given the intertwining of the RCMP and B.C. Lieberals and others in this province, one can hardly know what the truth is.

      Don’t trust the RCMP and don’t trust the B.C. Lieberals and some of their “associates”. .

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree a million percent. Every concerned citizen of BC and even Canada should listen to this interview with ex top cop by John Hau of Gobal news…/bc-illegal-gambling-enforcement-team-blames-rcmp-liberals-…


    • The last attorney general and JUSTICE MINISTER of the former BC corrupt liberal government Suzanne Anton and her predecessors was supposed to protect us. Rich Coleman was supposed to protect our interests. Mike de Jong was supposed to. Christy Clark and her top people were supposed to. But they decided to turn the cheek and willfully so and back the criminal side and take in dirty money and now looked whats happened to BC. PIGS !!! Lock em up !!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There are at least thirty members of the Legislative Press Gallery, most dedicated full time to that pursuit. Some have titles like “Legislative Bureau Chief”; implying an extensive crew.

    Both because they hold themselves out as journalists working in the public interest, and because taxpayers subsidize their activities, we should expect that there is very little they do not know about the operations of the Legislature.

    When the results of the current investigations are in, we should pay close attention to whether or not a dedicated team of thirty journalists missed reporting anything material during the period covered by the investigation. And whether their current stance regarding the Speaker’s actions has anything to do with this opportunity for us to take a close look at their work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Has the mainstream media ever point the spotlight at SkyTrain?
    No never, despite the fact only 7 have been built and only 3 seriously used for transit.
    The huge costs for SkyTrain are met merely with the phrase; “transit is good for you”.
    With the likes of Bombardier and SNC Lavalin who hold the technical and engineering patents for the proprietary railway and the scandals both Canadian corporations get into, some serious vetting by the MSN is in order. But no, never, nada.
    Both the NDP and the Liberals do not give a damn about the taxpayer’s dollar and spend money like the taxpayer has endless pocket fulls of money.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The annual remuneration for Craig James as a novice Clerk in 2012 was $150,000; then bumped up to $300,000 in 2015; and in 2018 to $350,000 The increases might be explained away by looking back to the fiasco in 2012 whereby there were TWO clerks.
    The outgoing Clerk George MacMinn in 2012 was given an additional two year contract as a Consultant Clerk position @ $250,000 per year by then Speaker Bill Barisoff.
    2015 ….. , MacMinn’s contract was over and there’s that $250,000, just lying around in the Speaker’s Budget, waiting to be used, every year.


  9. Thanks to Lew in pointing out to watch what the media leaves out in the story.

    A good philosophy anytime.

    Our justice system needs a serious rebooting.

    Eby? Alone like in a spagetti western?

    I remember when the BC Rail scandal happened , and Gordon Campbell paid the legal expenses of his clerks , and it just went away. End of story. No justice, no transparancy.

    But somebody who perhaps bid on the deal smelled a rat, and complained to the RCMP.

    It wasn’t the legislature who initiated the investigation as far as I know, and it has reinforced a sleazy reputation for our province as a place to do business in especially after the Howe Street VSE was raked over the coals for corruption by the Wall Street Journal.

    Things haven’t changed much in the province, and no one seems to care.

    Too bad for the good people who want to do business here to operate with these people who live easy with sleaze.

    I wonder where BC rates on a scale of justice for countries.

    I know we are way behind Portugal. They just find out the truth, period.

    All the best.


  10. I’m sure there are government people who are seething with anger and worry regarding what Plecas has on them. He should just go all in and spill it all quickly as a whistleblower and let the chips fall where they may, because things have habit of being washed away and good guys like Plecas become more targeted as the bad crazy guy in the end. That’s exactly what’s happening now.


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