Darryl Plecas

Darryl Plecas (born in 1951) is a Canadian politician, who was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Abbotsford South from 2013 to 2020, and served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from 2017 to 2020. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the 2013 provincial election as a member of the British Columbia Liberal Party;[2] after 2017 he sat as an independent after the BC Liberal Party revoked his membership for accepting his election as Speaker.[3]

Darryl Plecas
39th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
In office
September 8, 2017 – December 7, 2020
PremierJohn Horgan
Lieutenant GovernorJudith Guichon
Janet Austin
Preceded bySteve Thomson
Succeeded byRaj Chouhan
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Abbotsford South
In office
May 14, 2013 – October 24, 2020
Preceded byJohn van Dongen
Succeeded byBruce Banman
Personal details
Born1951/1952 (age 70–71)[1]
Abbotsford, British Columbia
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Liberal (until 2017)


Plecas holds two degrees in Criminology from Simon Fraser University, and a doctorate in Higher Education from the University of British Columbia.[4]

Plecas is a criminologist and emeritus faculty member at the University of the Fraser Valley, where he worked for 34 years, and helped turn the criminal justice program from a college diploma into a fully credited degree program.[5][6] During this time, he also served as a federally appointed prison judge.[7]

Political careerEdit

Plecas served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Crime Reduction from June 10, 2013 to January 29, 2015. He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors on January 30, 2015.[4]

At a Liberal caucus meeting held in July 2017, shortly after the government of Christy Clark lost power following its defeat in a confidence vote, Plecas called for Clark's resignation as party leader and threatened to quit the Liberal caucus and sit as an Independent MLA if she remained.

Later that month, Clark announced her resignation as leader. When Plecas revealed his role in Clark's ouster to The Abbotsford News, NDP house leader Mike Farnworth approached Plecas about becoming speaker. Had he accepted, it would have strengthened the hand of the NDP minority government.[8] Clark had unsuccessfully pressed for a new election due to the prospect of an NDP speaker having to frequently use his casting vote to break 43-43 ties.

Plecas and Farnworth negotiated in secret for much of July before reaching a deal in late August, with only Premier John Horgan and a few senior staffers aware of their talks. On September 8, 2017, he was acclaimed as Speaker.[9] On the following day, the Liberals expelled Plecas upon the request of the Abbotsford South BC Liberal riding association, and Plecas served out his term as an independent.[3][10]

Plecas later told The Province that he initially had no desire to be speaker, but changed his mind after concluding that there was no basis for Liberal claims that an NDP minority government supported by the Greens would be illegitimate. He said that with his earlier experience as a prison judge, he had the ability to be "impartial in difficult circumstances."[7]

Legislative Assembly corruption scandalEdit

In the year after being appointed Speaker, Plecas grew suspicious of the conduct of two Permanent Officers of the B.C. Legislative Assembly: Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz. He brought the matter before the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC), who urged the Speaker to publicize the corruption claims. The alleged crimes were reported to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police prior to the report's publication.[11] A criminal investigation was launched by the RCMP. The preliminary report on the issue was published on January 21, 2019.

The Plecas Report cited expenses "in the range of a million dollars"[12] to the Legislative Assembly for personal use, in the period of 20 months between April 2017 and December 2018. James and Lenz charged the legislature for a variety of luxury goods and inappropriate travel costs.[13] They were also accused of questionably awarding themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in employment benefits (e.g. retirement allowances and life insurance). Plecas raised concern about employer malpractice by James and Lenz, and attempts to conceal information related to their high expenditures. James in particular was noted for the theft of alcohol, and the contents of departing Premier Christy Clark's parliamentary vault.[14]

James and Lenz denied the allegations of the report, and both submitted a written defense to the LAMC.[15] James retired in May 2019, after an external administrative report conducted by former Supreme Court Justice Beverly McLachlin determined his actions amounted to professional misconduct in several areas. Though the same report did not substantiate claims of misconduct by Lenz, a subsequent external investigation found he had lied during the McLachlin investigation, and that he had further neglected his duties as outlined by the Police Act. Shown a copy of the report days before its public release, Lenz resigned.

Electoral recordEdit

2017 electionEdit

2017 British Columbia general election: Abbotsford South
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Darryl Plecas 11,683 52.48 +4.74 $64,989
New Democratic Jasleen Arora 6,297 28.29 +7.28 $2,892
Green William Aird Flavelle 3,338 15.00 $1,673
Christian Heritage Ron Gray 942 4.23 $686
Total valid votes 22,260 100.00
Total rejected ballots 174 0.78
Turnout 22,434 54.71
Liberal hold Swing +5.08
Source: Elections BC[16]

2013 electionEdit

2013 British Columbia general election: Abbotsford South
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Darryl Plecas 9,564 47.74
Independent John van Dongen 5,587 27.89
New Democratic Lakhvinder Jhaj 4,210 21.01
Marijuana Steve Finlay 417 2.08
Excalibur Patricia Smith 256 1.28
Total valid votes 20,032 100.00
Total rejected ballots 202 1.00
Turnout 20,234 55.77
Liberal hold Swing
Source: Elections BC[17]


  1. ^ "ABBOTSFORD SOUTH - Abbotsford News". Archived from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Fraser Valley: End of the line for van Dongen as Liberals bolster stronghold in Fraser Valley". The Province, May 15, 2013.
  3. ^ a b CBC News (9 September 2017). "BC Liberals revoke Speaker Darryl Plecas' membership". Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b "About MLA Plecas". darryplecasmla.ca. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Gibson and Plecas prepare for new opportunities as Abbotsford MLAs" Archived 2014-05-15 at the Wayback Machine. Abbotsford News, May 20, 2013.
  6. ^ Ip, Stephanie. "Five things about new B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas". No. September 8, 2017. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  7. ^ a b Mike Smyth (9 September 2017). "Darryl Plecas: Why I took the Speaker's job". The Province.
  8. ^ "Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas named speaker". ladysmithchronicle.com. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  9. ^ Shaw, Rob (8 September 2017). "MLA Darryl Plecas defects from B.C. Liberals to become Speaker". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  10. ^ "B.C. Liberals expel Darryl Plecas from party after he takes role as Speaker". The Globe and Mail. The Canadian Press. 9 September 2017.
  11. ^ Richard Zussman (6 February 2019). "Speaker Darryl Plecas says his office turned over information to police not in Plecas Report". 'Global News'.
  12. ^ Rhianna Schmunk (22 January 2019). "8 jaw-dropping allegations from B.C. Speaker's report". 'CBC News'.
  13. ^ Lori Culbert & Matt Robinson (13 February 2019). "More fallout from the Plecas report: 'Protocol' watches and MLAs who 'broke the law'". 'The Vancouver Sun'.
  15. ^ Richard Zussman (8 February 2019). "Clerk and sergeant-at-arms defend themselves against allegations in leaked documents". Global News.
  16. ^ "Statement of Votes – 41st Provincial General Election – May 9, 2017" (PDF). Elections BC. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  17. ^ "2013 Provincial General Election Final Voting Results". Elections BC. Retrieved 16 May 2017.

External linksEdit