New report leads to more questions in Legislature spending scandal
Ian Holliday, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, October 9, 2019 5:36PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 9, 2019 6:47PM PDT
VICTORIA - The bombshell finding in the latest report on the ongoing spending scandal at the B.C. Legislature -- a finding first reported exclusively by CTV News Vancouver on Tuesday -- is that former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz engaged in "discreditable conduct" and lied multiple times during the investigation.
On Wednesday, another of the findings in former Vancouver deputy police chief Doug LePard's report dominated discussions in Victoria.
During question period at the legislature Wednesday, the opposition BC Liberals focused on the role of Premier John Horgan's chief of staff Geoff Meggs in the LePard report, calling for his resignation.
In an interview with CTV News Vancouver, opposition house leader Mary Polak said she was puzzled by the report's finding that Speaker Darryl Plecas brought documentation of his concerns about the conduct of Lenz and former legislature clerk Craig James to Meggs before passing the information on to police.
"It's really difficult to understand that part of the report and why the Speaker would've gone to the Premier's office as opposed to coming to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee," Polak said. "That's a mystery to us."
According to LePard's report, Plecas brought his concerns to Meggs in July 2018. Meggs advised that the issues be taken to police, and after the meeting, he shredded the document Plecas had given him.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Horgan said Meggs had acted appropriately in shredding the document.
"When he was advised the information had been passed on to police, it was no longer a document worth keeping," the premier said. "It wasn't created by our office. It was not a public document."
In a statement, Meggs said he took the meeting with Plecas at Horgan's request. He said the document Plecas provided was "not evidence, but a copy of a summary of internal investigations conducted by the Speaker's office. There was no supporting documentation or back-up material."
"I was in no position to verify the allegations, and the premier’s office is rightly not involved in administration of the Legislative Assembly." Meggs said in his statement. "For those reasons, and because of the seriousness of the allegations, I urged the Speaker to provide his information to the police."
That explanation doesn't address Polak's concerns, however. She said the premier's office not being involved in administration issues is exactly why Meggs -- if not Plecas -- should have passed the information provided onto the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.
"Our concern from the very beginning when the Speaker first brought these issues forward was why were they never brought forward to LAMC in the first instance when he first became aware of them?" Polak said.
The Legislative Assembly Management Committee has faced criticism for failing to provide adequate oversight of James and Lenz, though changes have been made to improve the committee since the scandal became public.
"I do believe that at this time, the policy changes that we have made through the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, I think, will ensure that going forward, we have the right processes in place and that they're well understood so that in the future anything that were to happen here at the legislature would be reported promptly and through the right channels."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan