An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ALMOST A WEEK after the dramatic events at the B.C. Legislature the public still hasn’t been let in on the secret of what’s going on at the seat of government.
We don’t know why sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and clerk of the house Craig James have been placed on administrative leave other than the fact that an investigation of some sort is being carried out by RCMP and, not one, but two special prosecutors.
It is, indeed, a strange progression of events. Escorting suspended or terminated employees from the place of employment has sadly become relatively common place due to security concerns, but this one was carried out in an unusually dramatic fashion.
After a unanimous vote in the Legislature to suspend them with pay, Lenz and James were accompanied from the building to a vehicle, all the while being filmed by news media. It must have been a humiliating experience.
Since details of the reasons for the dramatic exit are being kept under tight wraps, we have no idea whether or not they’re responsible for any misconduct. Until things sort themselves out, they’re under a cloud.
After having voted along with everybody else in the Legislature in favour of the suspension, the BC Liberals are now demanding more details about the allegations against the pair. Meanwhile, Speaker Darryl Plecas’s handling of the situation has come into question.
There are any number of questions that can be asked about how the speaker, the government and the opposition all handled the revelation that something is going on, especially since the timeline apparently goes back to the beginning of the year.
It may well be that secrecy is needed with respect to some aspects of the case but the public deserves to know the basics of what’s going on. Whoever’s in charge of communication on this strange situation needs to start communicating.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.