Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz and Clerk of the House Craig James. (Black Press files)

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

After turning in his keys and phone and before being escorted out of the B.C. legislature by police, Clerk of the House Craig James said one of his first calls would be to a lawyer.

Neither he nor Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz was given any indication of what allegations against them are subject of an RCMP investigation that has gone on since at least September, James said. He and Lenz were summoned by Speaker Darryl Plecas to his office immediately after question period Tuesday and informed they were being placed on administrative leave.

“It’s disturbing,” James said as he emerged from his office with his cycling gear under his arm. “It’s not the way I would have handled it, and I know it would not be the way the sergeant at arms would have handled it, given many illustrious years in the RCMP and other policing agencies.”

As the top administrative and security officials, James and Lenz would normally be the ones in charge of having someone removed, whether politician or staff. James, who started his parliamentary career in Saskatchewan in 1978, said he and Lenz are owed an explanation for their sudden exit.

“Somebody knows something, and I think out of the fairness principle, both Gary and I should be informed being placed on administrative leave exactly what is involved,” James said. “I think it’s very unfair, very unfortunate and very disappointing.”

RELATED: Two prosecutors oversee RCMP investigation at legislature

The legislature session continues until next Tuesday, with a stack of bills that still need debate. The clerk’s role is to provide legal guidance to the speaker and control the flow of paperwork. That duty falls to Kate Ryan-Lloyd, the clerk of committees.

A senior legislature security officer is filling in for Lenz, whose ceremonial duty is to carry the ornate mace into the B.C. legislature to signal the start of proceedings.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Nuslhiixwta – A Place of Treasures – celebrates new name

After months of thought and deliberation, Healthy Beginnings now has a new name.

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

Retailers feel the squeeze of their generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Most Read