Speaker Linda Reid enters B.C. legislature chamber for throne speech, led by former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and followed by legislature clerk Craig James, June 26, 2013. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

B.C.’s longest-serving female MLA announces retirement after 28 years

Ex-speaker Linda Reid silent on legislature liquor removal

Former B.C. legislature speaker Linda Reid is retiring from politics at the end of her seventh term, as the longest-serving current MLA and the longest-serving woman in the province’s history.

Reid has represented her Richmond constituency since 1991, the year of former B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Wilson’s breakthrough to replace Social Credit as the dominant centre-right party in provincial politics.

Reid said in a statement issued by the party that she intends to continue serving as Richmond South Centre MLA and B.C. Liberal critic for seniors until the next B.C. election, scheduled for the fall of 2021.

Reid served as B.C. legislature speaker from 2013 to April 2017, and assistant deputy speaker during the NDP government that followed. She resigned from that role in February 2019 after being named in current Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report alleging financial improprieties by senior legislature officials.

Plecas cited an unnamed “whistleblower” who claimed to have been fired after questioning Reid’s expense claims for a taxi to the Helijet terminal in Vancouver and vehicle mileage after she arrived in Victoria. Former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz checked receipts on file and determined that was appropriate use of MLA travel expenses to travel from Richmond.

RELATED: Speaker Reid repays husband’s South Africa airfare

RELATED: Linda Reid gives up role as assistant deputy speaker

Lenz and former B.C. legislature clerk Craig James have since resigned as Plecas continues his investigations into spending, travel and treatment of legislature staff during their time as top administrators. In addition to an RCMP investigation that is still ongoing with two special prosecutors overseeing it, Plecas retained former Vancouver Police deputy chief Doug LePard to interview staff members and others, including Reid.

LePard’s report, released with many blanked-out portions in September, relates how Reid declined to be interviewed about witness accounts of the removal of large quantities of liquor from the legislature and allegedly loaded into James’ pickup truck in 2013.

Reid responded in writing via her lawyer, who refused to answer questions about the liquor incidents, calling the questions outside the scope of LePard’s inquiry.

According to LePard’s report, a legislature staffer identified only as “Witness 7” told LePard he was asked by Lenz to load a desk, chair and liquor into James’ truck on April 19, 2013, to take to retiring speaker Bill Barisoff at his Penticton-area home.

The report states Witness 7 said a second load of liquor was put in the truck the following Monday, April 22, describing enough wine and sealed and opened cases of hard liquor to fill the truck’s box.

Reid had her own controversy over spending during her time as speaker, after travelling to South Africa with her husband to a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference. Reid eventually repaid the $5,528 cost of her husband’s business-class airfare to Johannesburg in August 2013.

Deputy speaker and Burnaby NDP MLA Raj Chouhan and his wife also attended, but then-NDP caucus chair Shane Simpson said they flew economy and stayed at a budget hotel in Johannesburg, at a combined cost of $6,300.

B.C. speakers, deputy speakers and legislative clerks traditionally attend these Commonwealth conferences, aimed a strengthening parliamentary practices around the world.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Itska back in owner’s arms after Oak Bay man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman expects to be reunited with Itska on Sunday

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

Tofino welcomes much needed veterinarian to town

West Coast has not had a full-time vet since Dr. Jane Hunt surrendered her licence in 2004.

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read