British Columbia

Premier slams Liberal leader's suggestion to team up in legislature overhaul as 'offensive'

John Horgan says he will not work with the Opposition to fix all the scandals outlined in the Plecas report.

John Horgan says he will not work with the Opposition to fix all the scandals outlined in Plecas report

'In December of last year, the leader of the Opposition called the Speaker a "rogue" and "out of control,"' B.C. Premier John Horgan told media on Jan. 24 in the wake of the Plecas report. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he has no interest in working with Opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson and the B.C. Liberal Party on a major overhaul and house cleaning at the B.C. Legislature.

"For him to say 'stand with me and we'll tackle this together' is offensive," said Horgan.

Earlier in the day, Wilkinson pitched the idea of both parties working together to address the extensive scandals outline in a report by house Speaker Darryl Plecas, which detailed lavish overspending and questionable financial transactions on the part of two senior staffers — Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz.

Horgan also pointed out that Wilkinson had previously mocked Plecas and questioned the validity of his investigation.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson is calling for a 'house cleaning' at the B.C. Legislature in response to the Plecas report. (Nic Amaya / CBC)

"In December of last year, the leader of the Opposition called the Speaker a 'rogue' and 'out of control,'" said Horgan.

The Plecas report also raises questions about whether James was too closely aligned with the B.C. Liberals, even though his senior administrative position at the legislative assembly is supposed to be non-partisan. 

See how the explosive events unfolded over two months:

Watch the timeline of events from when the scandal was first brought to public attention until the scathing 76-page report was released. 3:49

Horgan said, in particular, allegations of James expensing visits to former premier Christy Clark and other senior Liberals are "absolutely appalling to the people of B.C."

James and Lenz were escorted from the legislature by police on Nov. 20 after being suspended from their jobs. 

The Plecas report has spurred a criminal investigation and two special prosecutors have also been assigned to the case. 

Horgan said the allegations in the report were the result of years of entitlement that the Liberals turned a blind eye to while in power.

Meanwhile, Auditor General Carol Bellringer told CBC she's done a lot to make the government more transparent, but wishes her office had moved faster to audit things like personal expense accounts.

With files from Rhianna Schmunk and Yvette Brend

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