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

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Petition on Second Street project presented to council

Over 1,000 signatures were gathered, but staff say council can’t do much about the project.

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

Mental health, BC Housing council’s picks for resolution issues

Grand Forks council aims to hold the province accountable to local government with draft resolutions

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read