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Liberal Plecas named as Speaker

The machinations in Victoria continue to surprise.

Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas has been acclaimed as Speaker of the Legislature. The Speaker’s position has been the topic of much debate since the May 9 election and particularly since the Liberal government fell and the NDP formed government with the support of the Green Party.

Darryl Plecas
Darryl Plecas

When the election dust settled, the Liberals had 43 seats, the NDP 41, and the Greens three. The NDP/Green alliance then had 44 seats to the Liberals’ 43, raising the issue of a dead heat between the two sides should a New Democrat or Green be named Speaker. When Christy Clark resigned, that gave the NDP/Green alliance some breathing room, with a one-seat majority after naming a speaker.

Now, with Plecas named speaker, the NDP/Green alliance will remain at 44 seats, the Liberals will have 42, and one seat will be empty until a byelection is called to fill Clark’s West Kelowna seat. Plecas has publicly voiced his displeasure with how Clark had handled the party since the election.

The move, understandably, is not sitting well with the Liberals.

“Every member of the Legislative Assembly has the right to run for the position of Speaker,” said interim Liberal leader Rich Coleman. “And every member has an obligation to conduct themselves in a fashion that honours their position as an elected representative. On several occasions, Mr. Plecas has made clear to me and the BC Liberal Caucus that he would not seek the Office of Speaker. We took him at his word and believed that he would stand by his commitment “We are disappointed in his decision.”

Premier John Horgan congratulated Plecas.

Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, issued the following statement in response to Darryl Plecas becoming Speaker.

“I am delighted to congratulate Darryl, who has been declared Speaker of the Legislative Assembly,” Weaver said.

“Darryl is known by his colleagues in the Legislature as a person of exceptional ethics and high moral standards. He will undoubtedly serve with dignity and honour as Speaker of this House.

“Darryl’s willingness to stand for Speaker is an encouraging sign that the MLAs of all parties will be able to work together in a productive, collaborative session. We have an historic opportunity to work across party lines to advance good public policy that serves the interests of British Columbians. I look forward to finally getting on with the business of the Legislature to do just that.”

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