Friday, November 23, 2018

The Palace-Coup that Wasn't

The speaker of the legislature, Darryl Plecas, took his position over partisan cries of 'traitor' from the cratering wreck of his former party, the BC Liberals. They, and the media personalities that support them unequivocally (postmedia), unequivocally hate Mr. Plecas's guts for having done so, and hate his guts moreover for playing such a part as would allow the NDP to govern. 

The way the BC Liberals and their friendly media mouthpieces (notably Postmedia lickspittles Vaughn Palmer and Rob Shaw) are portraying the bizarre scenes emanating from Victoria this week is as a kind of minor palace coup, in which an authoritarian and ambitious speaker appointed his 'crony' (as Vaughn Palmer called Mr. Mullen) to oust the longtime and beloved clerk and sergeant-at-arms, seeking to install said crony in the latter position. Is this what happened? Is this the story? Or is the story rather that an avowedly and enthusiastically non-partisan speaker of the legislature, having no incentive to bolster the NDP whatsoever, at every risk to himself, discovered evidence of impropriety on the part of legislative staff; and that, having discovered such evidence, Mr. Plecas appointed a trusted and extremely well qualified associate, Alan Mullen, to quietly look into the matters? 

This is no longer 'the Mullen investigation.' Craig James, the suspended legislative clerk, and Gary Lenz, the suspended Sergeant-at-Arms, are now under active RCMP investigation with two special prosecutors appointed to the investigation. On Tuesday, November 20th, The Province's Mike Smyth, tweeted out the particulars of a hiring document of BC Prosecution Service. This document stated that "the Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the British Columbia Prosecution Services, Peter Juk, QC (ADAG). . . [had] concluded, based on the request [from the RCMP] and the information available about the alleged circumstances of the case that the appointment of Special Prosecutors is in the public interest." As the hiring documents note, Special Prosecutors work "independent[ly] from government, the Ministry of Attorney General and the British Columbia Prosecution Service." Their mandate includes to determine whether "a prosecution is warranted" and to "conduct the prosecution and any subsequent appeal."

Today former Attorney General Wally Oppal agreed to be the second special advisor to speaker Darryl Plecas. Do you think Wally Oppal would have signed his name on to Mr. Plecas's minor palace-coup? I don't. I believe, reasonably I think, that the only reason why the RCMP, the Deputy Attorney General, and the British Columbia Prosecution Services would take up the investigation, and the only reason Mr. Oppal would lend his credibility to the speaker in such an instance, is because evidence of gross impropriety and inappropriate dealings on the part of Mr. James and Mr. Lenz has in fact been discovered. 

Why, then, is there the current furor surrounding Mr. Plecas's actions? Venture out in a speculative endeavour with me for a moment. Could it not perhaps be that this impropriety in fact implicates Mr. Plecas's most vocal critics in some way? We do not know what this investigation entails, what it pertains to, what brought it about. The RCMP have explicitly and publicly pleaded for public patience as the investigation is ongoing. With that said, there has been far too much slack-jaw recrimination of Speaker Plecas from his aggrieved former colleagues and postmedia sycophants, and not not nearly enough hard-nosed inference from the present circumstances of the investigation into the activities of Mr. James and Mr. Lenz, which required two special prosecutors because of (as their hiring documents reveal) the "size and scope of the investigation," as well as Mr. James history of loose financial dealings.

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