British Columbia

B.C. Legislature officials say they still don't know why they were suspended

Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz and Clerk Craig James addressed the media Monday in downtown Vancouver.

Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz and Clerk Craig James were put on leave last week amid an RCMP investigation

Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz and Clerk Craig James addressed the media Monday. (CBC)

Two top B.C. legislature officials who were suspended last week in the midst of an RCMP investigation say they still don't know anything about the allegations against them.

Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz and Clerk Craig James both called for their suspensions to be reversed during a press conference in downtown Vancouver on Monday. They said neither has been interviewed by police or the two special prosecutors assigned to the case, but they plan to co-operate fully.

"Gary and I have been deeply humiliated. I can think of nothing I have done that would disqualify me from carrying on with my duties while this investigation is completed," James told reporters.

Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz shares how the investigation has impacted him and his family. 1:16

Lenz and James were placed on administrative leave after a unanimous vote by MLAs last week. They were escorted from the legislature by police as government officials revealed the two men were under investigation in response to allegations that have yet to be made public.

During Monday's news conference, Lenz choked up as he thanked his family, friends and strangers for their support over the last week.

"No kindness is ever too small. This is a difficult situation for everyone, but I believe that weathering such a storm will make British Columbia stronger, as next time we will be able to prevent such a thing from happening before it is even able to start," he said.

B.C. legislative clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz will address their suspension amid an investigation into unspecified allegations. 0:52

Turmoil at the legislature

The events leading up to the suspension of the two officials have become the source of much turmoil in the legislature over the last six days.

Of particular concern to the opposition B.C. Liberals are the actions of Speaker Darryl Plecas, who hired his friend Alan Mullen in January as a special adviser to help look into the activities of Lenz and James.

This weekend, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson requested an emergency meeting to question Plecas about the hiring — and his suggestion that Mullen could replace Lenz as sergeant-at-arms. Plecas denied that request on Monday. 

In a letter to the three party house leaders, Plecas said it's up to the assembly to decide whether it wants to rescind the motion to place Lenz and James on leave.

Plecas wrote that the three leaders supported the position that "it would not be appropriate for these permanent officers to continue to be at the assembly in the face of an active criminal investigation regarding their actions related to the assembly."

Last week, Plecas brought in former attorney general Wally Oppal as a second special adviser to assist him with legal matters.

Plecas's office forwarded information to police about Lenz and James in August, and two special prosecutors have since been brought in to help with the investigation.

With files from The Canadian Press


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