Speaker Darryl Plecas.
CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS
VICTORIA – Speaker Darryl Plecas’s decision to clone the hard drives of senior staff at the building so that he can gather data for his own unspecified use has drawn condemnation from some MLAs.Opposition Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson rose in the legislature Thursday to call for staff to be treated respectfully and for Plecas to explain himself.“We are now aware in the last 24 hours that the speaker has embarked on new intrusions involving employees in this house,” said Wilkinson.“Some employees seek to insulate or protect themselves from this effort by the speaker while others are leaving or planning to leave.”The statement comes after Postmedia News reported that Plecas had cloned the hard drives of the acting clerk of the legislature, Kate Ryan-Lloyd, and acting sergeant-at-arms Randy Ennis late Wednesday.Ryan-Lloyd was seen in tears in the legislature hallway Wednesday after a meeting with Plecas. Ennis announced he is quitting on Friday.The actions also prompted a meeting Wednesday night involving the premier’s chief of staff Geoff Meggs and head of the civil service Don Wright.“Employees must be treated fairly,” said Wilkinson. “Arbitrary and unaccountable actions must stop.”Related
The legislature is set to adjourn its spring session Thursday afternoon. It would not reconvene until the fall. Wilkinson raised the idea of remaining in session to get to the bottom of what has happened.“This house must also sit until the air is cleared about the events of the last 24 hours,” he said.Plecas has hired an information technology firm to clone hard drives of senior staff members at the legislature, Postmedia News has learned.The move would give Plecas a mirror copy of all the files on the work computers of the top civil servants that run the building, as well as files related to human resources, pay and benefits for MLAs and staff.The speaker taking a copy of that sensitive data prompted an emergency meeting of the house leaders of the legislature’s three parties Thursday morning.
Arlen Redekop /
It also prompted Opposition leader Wilkinson to convene two additional meetings with NDP government house leader Mike Farnworth Thursday.The house leaders are expected to make a statement later Thursday.Ryan-Lloyd and Ennis were appointed acting officials after Plecas raised allegations of misspending against former clerk Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz.Retired chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, was brought in to review the allegations.Her report, released this month, found James had committed misconduct related to a retirement bonus, suits, luggage and a wood splitter he kept at his home. James retired.McLachlin cleared Lenz of any misconduct as an employee.He remains suspended because the RCMP is still investigating the case, under the supervision of two special prosecutors. No charges have been laid.