British Columbia

Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas becomes new Speaker

In another political twist in Victoria, B.C., Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas has been named Speaker of the B.C. Legislature. Plecas was the only MLA to put his name forward.

B.C. Liberal interim leader Rich Coleman calls Plecas' move a "betrayal"

Darryl Plecas leaves the Legislative Chamber after being elected as speaker on Friday. (Simon Charland/CBC News)

In another political twist in Victoria, B.C., Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas has been named the new Speaker of the B.C. Legislature. Plecas was the only MLA to put his name forward. 

The move strengthens the NDP government's position in the minority parliament, ensuring the party did not have to give up a voting MLA to sit in the Speaker's chair. B.C.Liberal interim leader Rich Coleman sees Plecas's decision as a "betrayal." Coleman says the Abbotsford South MLA had told him many times he would not stand for Speaker. 

"Everyone had committed, including Mr. Plecas, to not run for speaker," said Coleman. "I took him at his word. Obviously, that word didn't mean a lot."

Plecas was the only member of the B.C. Liberals to speak publicly against former leader Christy Clark's leadership. Coleman says that did not affect Plecas's place in the Liberal caucus.

"Caucus talked about that in August and welcomed him to stay in the caucus," said Coleman.

Plecas's decision provides some additional breathing room for the Green/NDP partnership. With former premier Christy Clark's resignation, there are now 42 Liberals MLAs, 41 NDP MLAs and 3 Green MLAs sitting in the chamber. The Speaker would break any tie votes. 

Clark left a seat empty when she resigned as the MLA for Kelowna West. Premier John Horgan was the first to congratulate Plecas following his move into the Speaker's chair. 

"I am so delighted you have taken up the challenge in keeping us honest," said Horgan to Plecas following his election. "I can't tell you how happy I am to work with you over the next few years to make B.C. better."