Former Speaker faces questions for dodging interview about scandal her party calls 'serious'
Former Speaker Linda Reid, now a Liberal MLA, is seen in the Speaker's chair in this file photo.
She's a former speaker, one of the longest serving MLA's in British Columbia – and she refused to be interviewed for an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing involving a former top official at the legislature, a case her own party leader has called serious.
After question period Thursday, Liberal MLA Linda Reid, an experienced politician, stopped just briefly to answer reporter questions.
"I did cooperate and I think questions were answered," she said.
Not according to a new report into the conduct of the former sergeant-at-arms, Gary Lenz.
Doug LePard, a former Deputy Chief of Vancouver Police, interviewed multiple witnesses while conducting the report. Of Reid, he wrote, "Ms. Reid declined, through her legal counsel, to be interviewed."
Reid's explanation: "I was out of town."
She did answer some questions through her lawyer, but not all of them.
“She declined to respond to questions about whether she had knowledge of the incident from other sources," wrote LePard in the report.
Some witnesses told Lepard they raised the issue of thousands of dollars of liquor – bought with taxpayer dollars – being removed from the precinct with Reid when she was Speaker.
On Wednesday, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson responded to reporter questions about whether Reid should have participated.
"Well, clearly these are serious allegations, there are multiple criminal investigations going on around activities in this building and everybody who’s asked to cooperate with the investigation should do so," he said.
Despite being peppered with questions from reporters, Reid didn’t waver, insisting nothing was wrong.
"The incident did not happen during my time, my tenure as speaker," she said.
Reid – who has not been accused of wrongdoing – still isn't saying what she was told, leaving questions about whether the spending issues that led to the early retirement of two top officials could have been caught earlier.