Craig James and Gary Lenz had no idea that someone would accuse them of doing wrong as they carried out onerous duties of public servants. Issues raised in the lengthy Plecas Report no doubt caused surprise.
Darryl Plecas reported on many incidents and the suspended officers of the Legislative Assembly are due to provide response on February 7.
An anonymous source leaked an incomplete list of the initial defences to be raised by Messrs. James and Lenz:
Mr. Speaker drew conclusions not based on facts proven in court. By convention since 2001, this defence is sufficient for all accusations raised against political appointees in British Columbia. However, we provide exculpatory explanations:
Each of us was undercover, gathering evidence of possible wrongdoing by the other. Because they were complex, our investigations lasted years. Had they been completed, citizens would have thanked one of us for diligence.
Travelling the world is not easy. We were absent from friends and family for extended periods, staying in unfamiliar places and eating unusual foods. Travel was an imposition, not a benefit. Our sacrifices meant others did not have to suffer.
As Liberals, we believe in low taxes. Having the Legislature pay for our goods and services was an effective strategy for us to reduce income tax. This allows improved recruitment and retention of people like us.
The Legislature has few areas for storage so, by keeping the log splitter and trailer at home without charging storage fees, we were doing BC taxpayers a favour. Any use we made of the equipment was to ensure its readiness in case the Legislature’s giant sequoia fell.
Taxpayers paid retirement benefits to us because we expected to retire. Our decisions not to retire came afterward, so payment of the extra hundreds of thousands of dollars to us was appropriate at the time.
We were testing financial oversight at the Legislature. Having proved existing measures ineffective, we were about to make corrections when the LAMC suspended us.
Despite our removal efforts, there was too much liquor at the Legislature. This may have resulted in certain behaviours beyond our control.
Everyone else was doing it.
The devil made us do it.