What Ple­cas said at leg­is­la­ture

Fol­low­ing are some ex­cerpts from re­marks Speaker Dar­ryl Ple­cas made to the leg­is­la­ture’s man­age­ment com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day, Dec. 6:

Times Colonist - - Front Page -

Per­haps it’s now a time for me to make a brief state­ment about this be­cause it’s gar­nered such pub­lic in­ter­est.

I want you to know that very early in my ten­ure as Speaker, very se­ri­ous con­cerns were brought to me about cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties that were tak­ing place within the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly. When I learned of this in­for­ma­tion, I felt a great duty to safe­guard the in­tegrity of this in­sti­tu­tion and be very mind­ful about why we’re all here. That’s to make sure that pub­lic dol­lars are spent ap­pro­pri­ately.

It was im­per­a­tive for me to act on in­for­ma­tion that was be­fore me.

Given the in­for­ma­tion is very se­ri­ous, and the very sen­si­tive na­ture of the in­for­ma­tion that was be­fore me, which could po­ten­tially be crim­i­nal, I be­lieve that I acted ap­pro­pri­ately to en­sure that the in­for­ma­tion I had been pro­vided was re­li­able.

This is a mat­ter that is now be­fore po­lice. As such, it would not be ap­pro­pri­ate for me to com­ment on this mat­ter any fur­ther. We’ve heard this ref­er­ence nu­mer­ous times to [Alan] Mullen be­ing hired as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor. Noth­ing, noth­ing, noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth — not even close. At the end of the day, if we’re re­fer­ring to po­lice ac­tiv­ity, I’m sure the po­lice will jump for­ward, and spe­cial pros­e­cu­tors will jump for­ward, and tell you that he wasn’t in­ves­ti­gat­ing. They would prob­a­bly also tell you that ev­ery sin­gle thing he did and I did, lead­ing up to giv­ing po­lice the in­for­ma­tion, was done not well but per­fectly. I have the au­thor­ity to the ex­tent that I’m re­spon­si­ble over­all for se­cu­rity. I also have a duty to tax­pay­ers to make sure, if I ever see some­thing that I think is in­ap­pro­pri­ate in terms of spend­ing … that I pur­sue that with due dili­gence.

I can tell ev­ery sin­gle tax­payer out there: “Take it to the bank. I will be do­ing that ev­ery time. I will be do­ing due dili­gence.”

Call it in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Call it what you will. I will be do­ing that for ev­ery tax­payer.

We are not go­ing to bury any­thing. Un­der my watch, there will never, ever, be any­thing buried here — ever. I’m propos­ing that we have an­other meet­ing, and I will give you a long laun­dry list of my con­cerns.

I will be propos­ing that we have a full au­dit, a full foren­sic au­dit, on the Speaker’s of­fice — that is, my of­fice — one on the clerk’s of­fice and one on the sergeant-atarms of­fice. You will get ev­ery de­tail of how much I spent. You want full dis­clo­sure. The pub­lic de­serves full dis­clo­sure. Boy, are they go­ing to get it.

I am com­pletely con­fi­dent — com­pletely con­fi­dent — that those au­dits will show that we have a lot of work to do here. If the out­come of those au­dits did not out­rage the pub­lic, did not out­rage tax­pay­ers, did not make them throw up, I will re­sign as Speaker, and Mr. Mullen will re­sign as well.

This has gone on far enough. I’ve been re­duced to a car­toon char­ac­ter. The press has fo­cused on noth­ing but this is­sue since this first hap­pened, solely on this is­sue. This is com­pletely un­fair. It cer­tainly isn’t fair to a leg­isla­tive em­ployee, like Mr. Mullen. You all know that you are com­pletely off base.

Again, I’ll em­pha­size: if there is one sin­gle thing about those au­dits — any­thing — that says there’s any­thing other than lots of things wrong, I prom­ise you, I will re­sign as Speaker. That ought to be enough for you to say that I think we’re onto some­thing here, and it needs to be fixed. And it needs to be fixed through the Speaker’s of­fice be­cause it hasn’t been fixed for years. I don’t know what else to say. I’d also say that the faster this au­dit can hap­pen, the bet­ter. I’m sure it’s the wish of you and your col­leagues that I get out of here as quickly as pos­si­ble, so I’m will­ing to say: “Let’s make this fast. Let’s get this au­dit triple time. If this can be done next week, let’s do it.”

This is also hurt­ful to this in­sti­tu­tion. We can’t be ex­pected to run nor­mal op­er­a­tions with these non-stop ac­cu­sa­tions of wrong­do­ing on be­half of the Speaker’s of­fice, non-stop at­tack­ing of a leg­isla­tive em­ployee who’s sim­ply do­ing his job. I would ask you and ev­ery­one else: is there any one, sin­gle thing that Mr. Mullen has done wrong? I know what’s go­ing to hap­pen at the end of this. Peo­ple are go­ing to be cheer­ing for Mr. Mullen, and they’re go­ing to say: “What­ever you do here at the Leg­is­la­ture, don’t get rid of Mr. Mullen.”

ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Speaker Dar­ryl Ple­cas at a meet­ing of an all-party com­mit­tee over­see­ing fi­nan­cial man­age­ment at the leg­is­la­ture.

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