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

Suspended B.C. legislature officers protest their treatment

Craig James, Gary Lenz ask MLAs to reinstate them

In an emotional statement from their Vancouver lawyer’s office Monday, B.C. legislature officers Craig James and Gary Lenz called for MLAs to reinstate them and described the impact of their sudden suspension last week on their families and reputations.

“Gary and I have been deeply humiliated,” James told reporters, after he and Lenz described how they still don’t know what they are accused of doing.

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms escorted out

RELATED: Timeline of events in B.C. legislature investigation

Asked about possible financial irregularities in the management of the legislature’s $70 million budget, James described the protections and oversight he has established to report to MLAs as “bullet proof.”

“It’s safe to say that we have 87 bosses, and sometimes that can sometimes be quite a task,” James said, referring to the MLAs from around B.C.

Lenz said his job involves working with police on security matters, but he and James said neither has been interviewed by police about anything involving their actions.

In a letter to party house leaders released Monday, Speaker Darryl Plecas said the B.C. legislature can vote to reinstate James and Lenz, after MLAs hastily passed a motion to suspend them Nov. 20.

Plecas’s letter also responded to issues raised in a letter from a lawyer for James and Lenz, demanding that they be reinstated to their jobs and told what the allegations are against them. Plecas said at their meeting of Nov. 19, the house leaders discussed the possibility of asking the two independent officers to take a voluntary suspension and rejected it.

“Even if one or both of the officers did agree to depart on short notice, difficult legal issues would arise if one or both officers later asserted the right to return before the criminal investigation was complete,” Plecas wrote.


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