Former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (centre) and fellow justices of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015. (The Canadian Press)

Former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (centre) and fellow justices of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015. (The Canadian Press)

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice to investigate B.C. legislature affair

Beverley McLachlin retained to examine allegations of officer spending

Beverley McLachlin, the recently retired chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, has been retained to investigate the allegations of misconduct by two senior managers of the B.C. legislature.

The house leaders of the NDP, B.C. Liberal and B.C. Green Parties issued a statement Wednesday announcing the selection of McLachlin as a “special investigator” as determined by the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.

McLachlin’s appointment is to be formalized by the committee of MLAs Thursday.

Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz were abruptly suspended from their jobs in November, after Speaker Darryl Plecas turned over information on their expenses and travel to police.

McLachlin served as chief justice of Canada’s highest court from 2000 to 2017, the longest-serving in that position in Canadian history and the first woman to hold the job.

READ MORE: B.C. legislature staff accused of excessive spending

READ MORE: Why would the B.C. legislature need a wood splitter?

In February, the MLA committee released a second report by Plecas, detailing further allegations involving a trip to Seattle by a group of officials including James, Lenz and their spouses, for a group described as devoted to emergency preparedness. Events included a visit to Safeco Field, including 13 tickets to a Seattle Mariners game, and three “working dinners” in Washington where taxpayers were billed more than $4,500 in expenses.

Another outing of the group in Victoria was described by James as a “tsunami watch” tour of Haro and Juan de Fuca Straits. Plecas said it was actually a whale watching tour.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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