Standards of behavior

Did the suspended officers of the Legislature swear the simple oath required of MLA’s:

I, A.B., swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, [or her successor], her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.

Or the much more onerous oath required of people in the public service:

Public service in BC requires much of the thousands of regular employees and their supervisors:

BC Public Service employees are united by a shared commitment, not just to deliver the services and programs and policies of government but to do so in ways that maintain and enhance the trust and confidence of British Columbians.
This focus on purpose, impact and ethical commitment is woven into the very fabric of who we are as an organization and how we work. It is embedded in the Oath sworn by every one of us when we begin our career, and in the corporate values we bring to our jobs every day.

Whether or not the behaviour of Craig James and Gary Lenz is eventually judged in court to be criminal, we have enough information to know there was a failure of loyal service to the people and government of BC.

Integrity and putting interests of the public and the public service above personal interest seem to have been forgotten.

Yet, it was not only James, Lenz and Speakers Linda Reid and Bill Barisoff who dismissed those promises.

In fiscal year 2018, Deputy Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd was paid $251,925 (up 121% since 2009) and Executive Finance Officer Hilary Woodward received $198,380 (up 74% since 2014).

Yet neither sounded an alarm about financial mismanagement. Which brings up the question: were they handsomely paid for competence or silence and obedience?

Speaker Darryl Plecas says he was guided by his moral compass. The senior officers working at the Legislature may not understand that concept.

Categories: Ethics

32 replies »

  1. What I find myself laughing at about this entire affair is my disappointment in the NDP. When they formed government I was so looking forward to see many Liberal appointed hacks relieved of their services and then when that was complete a thorough investigation of all the corruption that took place over the last 16 years. Non of this materialized. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Then out of the blue, what appears to be the most honest politician I have seen and from the opposition to boot is doing more damage to the Liberals than the NDP have. It really isn’t funny!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree. NDP decided early on to govern much like the Liberals, although with a little more heart.

      That meant keeping in place highly placed apparatchiks like Craig James, Fazil Milhar, the industry friendly managers in the Energy department and others who had served Liberal purposes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This can of worms has barely been opened. How far back does it go? Who were the beneficiaries? Who were the main perps? Who put them up to it? IMO this all (such as we yet know of it) is further proof that #bcpoli deserves a full-fledged public inquiry run by truly-independent and experienced individuals into corruption in B.C. politics, government and public policy towards businesses, industries and economic development initiatives (or lack thereof as the case may be for certain groups and regions).


  3. I don’t know how the senior civil servants who reported to Craig James could have flagged his behavior except at the cost of extreme self-sacrifice.

    Craig James was closely tied to senior Liberals (who were in government until June 2017) including the very powerful and reputedly ruthless Rich Coleman. Craig James also seemed to enjoy good relationships and the respect of the press including all of the senior political reporters and enjoyed a good reputation with the NDP too. As well MLAs on both sides of the house had been on lavish and inappropriate overseas trips, seemingly at James’ invitation. I think Craig James was adept at inviting people into corrupt and unethical behavior, although that is not an excuse for those MLAs who participated.

    I admire Kate Ryan-Lloyd for returning her bonus, that was a brave thing to do and a self-sacrifice too. That should have raised red flags to any auditor or if there any had been any meaningful oversight of the Clerk.

    The senior staff at the legislature were also getting very good salaries and were probably well aware of other people who had been terminated without cause or forced into retirement with the bribe of a large payout and the threat of being suspended without pay. And where would you work in BC after being a whistleblower and in all probability an unsuccessful whistleblower? Whistleblowers usually get the very short end of the stick and often fail to get results as well. I don’t think it is fair to ask for that risk-taking and self-sacrifice without a system of explicit protections.

    Darryl Plecas is completely admirable for his integrity, bravery, intelligence and tough determination in seeing this through. He also has a very good skill set, iron nerves and thankfully was able to bring in a trusted and intelligent advisor, Alan Mullen. And Plecas was independent of all the political parties. I have no doubt that if Mr. Plecas had followed Mary Polak’s very bad advice about going earlier to the LMAC and the Auditor-General that none of this would ever have seen the light of day.

    Another key point as the scandal unfolds, is the current and clever emphasis on “criminality” by the Liberal spin masters. However it is a false emphasis.

    An employer is not required to bring and prove criminal charges in order to fire employees. Labour law is more like civil law, it based on probabilities. When employees fight wrongful dismissal it is not based on the whether the employer met the criminal standard of “proved beyond a doubt”, it is based on the balance of probabilities, also patterns of behavior, the employee’s record of employment and whether there was premeditation and whether the employee retains the trust of the employer. The employer can and does successfully argue that a trusting relationship has been irretrievably broken by a lying employee and the employee is fired.

    James and Lenz must have lost the employers trust. Among other things they have committed fraud (the uniform items, the wood splitter) and committed “theft of time”, taking vacation days, not declaring vacation days and getting paid out for vacation days. And much more as documented in the Darryl Plecas report.

    Finally, it is a very sad reflection of Andrew Wilkinson’s character that he is seeking to minimize this and deny the Liberal responsibility. Stupid too.

    I hope every British Columbian is contacting their MLA and expressing their views on Craig James and Gary Lenz disgusting behavior as employees of the BC Legislature.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate your comment but disagree about Ryan-Lloyd. Had Linda Reid stayed on as Speaker, I surmise things would have continued as they were.

      When an honest Speaker arrived and began making inquiries, the fraudulent behaviour was soon to end. That emboldened the Deputy Clerk.

      There’s an equivalence here to a criminal gang being exposed and one of the lesser lights cooperating with authorities and trading partial immunity for testimony against the gang leaders.

      If Ryan-Lloyd and Woodward, the Director of Financial Services, had gone to the Auditor General with comprehensive evidence, fraudulent behaviour could have been stopped sooner.

      Yes, there was a risk of not being believed but Plecas had that same risk but did the right thing, even in the face of severe attacks by BC Liberals and their media lap dogs.


    • off the radar, you refer to “cost of extreme self-sacrifice”, I don’t count what would have been required as “extreme self-sacrifice”. It would have been living up to the oath they took when they were hired. “extreme self-sacrifice” is what the two police officers did in Sannich last night, went into a home, because they knew the fire department would get there in time. they endangered their own lives to save two others, that’s “extreme self-sacrifice”. Yes, the person may have lost their job in an attempt to up hold their oath, but in my books, that is just doing your job and living up to the oath you take when you go to work for the government. I do agree it they would have sacrificed their income, but extreme self sacrifice it does not cover in my books.

      The province does need strong whistler blower leg, but we also need a MSM with some integrity. Once upon a time people could actually go to the media, tell their story, it would be covered. Now not so much. In today’s times they may do some consumer whistler blowing stuff, but the real stuff, not so much. In my opinion, the MSM is complicit in what is wrong in this province. Now some may argue Sam Cooper did a good job of his articles on money laundering and they were good, but they were only printed after the B.C. Lieberals had totally lost and were out of office. It seemed more like the MSM were trying to ingratiate themselves with the new political parties and make the public think they were doing their jobs as media and hopefully forget the 16 years they were more like press release organs for the B.C. Lieberals


      Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems that many public servants were fired for upholding their oath by a few who didn’t.

    Sanctions for that will be some time in coming given the nature of our current justice system. Mr. Horgan has limited control over that. But a message must be sent, both to the general public and to the public servants watching and waiting for a remedy in the public interest. Mr Horgan has full control over that message.

    Mr. Horgan’s remedy must be swift and strong. At a minimum it will include immediate and effective legislation to protect and encourage whistleblowers, enhance public access to expenditure records, and establish a public corruption inquiry.

    That’s assuming he takes whatever oath he swore seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Is it not interesting, that until the facts were revealed, the mainstream media types railed against Plecas.

    The Liberal bias, was there for all to see.


    As for the NDP, they are a bitter disappointment. Instead of cleaning house, they are turning a blind eye to the criminal corruption that seems to engulf this province.

    As Horgan dithers, the criminals play.

    What is he afraid of?

    Ye, what is Horgan afraid of?

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES, THAT is truly interesting. I do believe somewhere in Plecas’s report he details how that happens. Don’t recall the page its on, but the report is a fairly easy read.

      Yes, thanks to Mr. Plecas for making the report so readable.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh if we could get John Doyle,s take on this ,the Liberal cartel made short of him when he called them out on their fancy book keeping.All this got going on Godfather Gordo with his loyal and trusted right Hencher Chrisry first class all the way. God all mighty Are these parasites able to get enough.thanks Norm and Mr Places you deserve a medal.


    • Yes we ought ask John Doyle to to discuss what he found out back then.
      I think all this corruption begins with Gordo the Bad. I’m glad Lew is still with us, as I understand he has documented the BCRail slight of hand by our justice system to stop any futher investigation.
      Whose hand played in this?
      We can still ask this relevant question we were denied years ago.


  7. The Honourable Doctor Darryl Plecas.
    Truly deserving of “Honourable”…a lonely club in the Legislature.
    This taxpayer thanks Mr. Plecas.

    If James and Lenz (etc.) get only slaps on the wrist (because of the “loosey goosey” laws, similar to what acquitted that crooked Senator Duffy), I’m very close to being DONE!
    B.C. used to be such a darn pleasant place to live.

    Now daily it’s graft, money laundering, and/or corruption becoming more blatant.
    Years ago it was just darkhorse parties running up the middle due to vote splitting, etc. etc.

    Oh…and Dr. Weaver is a giant disappointment.


    • I am puzzled by this pension payment to someone who had a lifetime appointment. Pensions are for people who stop earning their income from a ‘job’. If I had a lifetime appointment, I would never stop receiving a paycheck.


  8. I certainly liked the thoroughness of “off the radars” approach.
    I’m optimistic about the consequences of this criminality being prosecuted under full limelight.
    They have no choice but to do so. To vanquish these crooks is a political dream come true through this scandal. If it doesn’t happen you can kiss this democracy goodbye. And the Young know it.
    So do you want to have a democracy or a kleptocracy as a governance style?
    If the milk toast approach to this crime wins no sense of the greater good will remain, and any respect for government will disappear.
    The social contract vanishes into anarchy which is already visible now with the inflation of housing due to Casino laundering wounding the young.
    What do you want the young to inherit? A culture born into debt, and government crime?
    If I were in the public service , and had taken this oath I’d be furiuos about how this crime cheapens my dignity, and sense of purpose to serve the public.
    Where will the defenders of democracy come from?
    Its so revolting what the Liberals have done its time vanquish these people.


  9. Everyone ought to read the Tyee article by Paul Willcocks.
    We in essence are the board of directors for our legislature, and we ought not to rely on the political system, the justice system, nor the CBC/News Media to take this where we want to.
    Its time for something radically different in approach using social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have the feeling that Paul Willcocks was too good a journalist to remain part of the current mainstream press and its pandering to vested interests. I’ve followed his work for many years and it is always well constructed, but more importantly, always well reasoned. We’re fortunate The Tyee gives us the opportunity to read Paul.

      I hope people sign up to provide a few dollars each month to excellent reader supported journalism. The Tyee is one, The Narwhal is another.


    • A bribe? These are people with clever explanations who fool the law easily. They just run circles around the justice system I’ve noticed.


  10. Just received the latest post by Blog Borg “Collective. Interesting exchange, at a committee meeting, between, Horgan and Lenz/Craig regarding $500K. For those of us following All things money at the Leg. right now, might add something to the entertainment.


  11. Any thoughts on where Craig James as been squirreling his money away to? Bitcoins? Has he been paying his fair share of Income Tax? Declaring all earnings? (No need to ask about all Expenses) ZERO. Concerns from his neighbours? Disappointment in not having the neighbourhood barbecue this year due to the wood splitter being returned to the owners? Selling in$ider information to third parties? Not just the dirt on the BC Liberals.


  12. NVG, I doubt if he is squirreling his money away. Living the life style I expect he does, is expensive. However, I’d check to see if he vacation regularly at one spot. Then check the real estate market.
    First you have to consider what are earning. One could argue, he can’t pay income tax on ill gotten gains because he would be incriminating himself.

    I don’t really care about the money. its about the system which allowed him to do this.


  13. I could be mistaken and it appears by comments directed at me I am most of the time but I feel there has/was a culture of entitlement and a lack of firm rules, oversight, and accountability going back for decades in the B.C. Government regardless of who held power.

    Over the years there have been a few fixes but there were also some things that slipped through the cracks. How and why is a mystery but I feel now that the latest Scandal has been brought to light I feel the Premier and the Opposition will address the problems, loopholes, and abusive entitlements and establish Transparent Reports and a Firm Structure of Regulations with bi partisan Oversight and Accountability with Teeth.

    Mistakes and Abuses have been allowed to go on far too long but I also believe Premier Horgan and Wilkinson are both capable of making meaningful changes.

    They may not agree on many issues but they both want to ensure that the Citizens of B.C. Are not taken advantage of by Politicians or Employees of Government and the Legislature.

    Let’s hope this is addressed immediately, i would suggest we all contact our current MLA and demand action now.


  14. The other problem with deputy clerk Loyd and executive finance officer Woodward not saying anything was likely due in part to just being pathetic chickens that didn’t want to rock the boat. Thankfully a good man like Plecus came along and rose above the stench of the political sewer of entitlement and cowardice and exposed it all. Daryl Plecus. Forever the Hero.

    Liked by 1 person

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