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

GALLERY: Fernie hosts mine rescue competition

Fording River, Line Creek mine rescue teams off to provincials after placing first and second

Fernie beer named Canada’s best pale ale

Fernie Brewing Company’s Campout West Coast Pale finishes first at the Canadian Brewing Awards

Cannabis yoga a budding trend in Fernie

Yoga studio, cannabis educator team up to offer Fernie’s first cannabis yoga classes from May 17

Sparwood’s Momma Di a mother to many

The Free Press competition winner revealed; plus Mother’s Day around the Valley

An Everest fundraiser

Man set to climb elevation of Mt. Everest in one day to raise school lunch funds

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

UPDATE: Aggressive coyote moves to Sparwood

Residents urged not to feed or approach the animal

City of Fernie to hold referendum for multi-purpose centre loan

Council opts for assent voting after petition calling for a referendum garners over 500 signatures

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read