|The Office of Speaker Darryl Plecas once again finds itself in|
the political spotlight; this time over the ten city
travels of Chief of Staff Allan Mullen
British Columbia's Legislature will end the summer, much the way that it went into it, with the Speaker's Office back in the political spotlight and this time summer travel is the theme.
That as the Opposition BC Liberals called out the recent travels of Chief of Staff Allen Mullen, a journey that appears to have been some kind a fact finding tour conducted by the right hand man for Speaker Daryl Plecas.
The tour of Western Canada and the US one that that the Speaker has so far deflected any criticism over when speaking to the topic at all.
Mr. Plecas and Mr. Mullen, who are no strangers to controversy around the Legislature, have become lightning rods in recent months after they conducted some rather unorthodox investigations into Legislature spending.
Their undercover work resulting in a number of departures of senior staff and provided for some unsettled times and many questions surrounding the work of the Speakers office.
May 31 -- Chaotic end to Legislature session, leaves Speaker Darryl Plecas once agin the centre of attention
January 22 -- Report from Speaker Plecas makes for page after page of revelations on Legislature spending
November 29 -- BC Legislature breaks for Christmas with NDP looking to showcase highlights; but trapped by public's view of chaotic end
November 23 -- Controversy swirls around Legislature Speaker over ousting of officials
This time around, it's the spending of Mr. Mullen which is in the spotlight, as the Chief of Staff to Speaker Plecas, conducted a ten city tour of the security arrangements at Legislatures and Assemblies in Canada and the United States.
The tour which has come in at 13,000 dollars, found Mr. Mullen travelling to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, as well as seven American states in the Northwest to discuss security at their respective houses of government.
The travel plans caught the eye of the BC Liberal opposition, which always perks up their ears whenever either man is mentioned around the Legislature and on this file have wondered aloud why 13,000 dollars and countless kilometres of travel were required in the middle of the summer.
The ten city tour raised a few eyebrows, particularly when a few phone calls, Skype sessions or emails might have provided for the same amount of background information, a significantly lower cost.
The Liberals, of course are still angered over Mr. Plecas' departure from their ranks after Premie-elect John Horgan dangled the bauble of the Speakership following the 2017 election.
Testy opening for Throne Speech as NDP introduce Liberal Darryl Plecas as Speaker
And while having Plecas in place at the Speakers chair has been useful in securing the NDP/Green alliance for two years now, the Premier must open his newspaper or computer browser with some trepidation, wondering what trouble his choice for Speaker may be in on any given day.
As for the men of the week, both the Speaker and his Chief of Staff are keeping their comments to themselves at the moment, suggesting that everyone wait until the report is delivered.
Mr. Mullen's "What I did on my summer vacation report" for class will be released sometime in September.
Some background on the percolating tempest can be found below:
BC Speaker's office under fire for spending $13,000 on 10 city tour to discuss security
BC Speaker Plecas defends $13,000 road trip derided as "excellent summer vacation'
For more items of note on the Legislature see our archive page here, a wider overview of notes out of Victoria can be found on our political blog D'Arcy McGee.
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