The Speaker shouldn’t be an MLA

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Regardless of the outcome of the B.C. referendum on electoral reform, it’s clear that the way at least one person is elected in the B.C. Legislative Assembly needs to be changed.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), elected to the position by other MLAs. The Speaker must act neutrally and treat all other MLAs impartially.

Objectively, this makes no sense. First and foremost, the MLA that takes the Speaker’s role was elected to represent the people who voted for them. Since the Speaker doesn’t vote except during the event of a tie and even then has to follow rules, it’s not unreasonable to say that, at present, whichever MLA becomes Speaker is essentially abdicating their primary responsibility: representing their voters/constituency. This in and of itself should be enough to reconsider how a Speaker is elected.

Secondly, since the member had to get elected, they may well have made very strong political statements immediately prior to taking the position. It’s hard to reconcile that juxtapositioning. Certainly, it could pose a problem for public trust.

Again this by itself should be enough to re-evaluate the Speaker position.

However, now more than ever, it’s clear that the Speaker should not be an MLA. At the start of the current (41st) Parliament, the role of Speaker was a hot topic as, unless the Speaker came from the Liberals, Parliament would be able to get very little done. A member of the Green Party or NDP assuming the role of Speaker would leave the Green-NDP coalition and the Liberals with the same number of seats. In the event of a tie, the Speaker would have to vote, but is expected to follow the Speaker Denison’s rule, which includes voting against the final enactment of a bill, but against motions of no confidence. This added yet another solid reason to look for a Speaker outside of the elected MLAs.

The current situation, regardless of how it plays out, should really be the nail in the coffin for how a Speaker is elected. In the unprecedented situation, the Speaker led an unknown investigation through an unknown advisor leading to unknown allegations against to two senior staff members who were removed, one of which the Speaker tried to replace with his advisor. That situation, in and of itself, raised plenty of concerns and it’s probably fair to say problematic.

But realistically, it’s worse than that. Should MLAs decide to remove Darryl Plecas as the Speaker, there’s once again the potential for gridlock.

Regardless of whether B.C. sticks with First Past The Post or switches to Proportional Representation, it’s time to reconsider how the Speaker is elected.


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

– Black Press

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

Just Posted

Maple Ridge Mounties hope someone recognizes this vandal

At least 25 vehicles were damaged overnight Saturday to Sunday in a north Maple Ridge neighbourhood

Pitt Meadows film premiere offers hope to people with learning disabilities

In Normal Isn’t Real four subjects who have learning disabilities and ADHD, share their success stories

Marching for those who’ve disappeared

Fifth annual event in Memorial Peace Park

Letter: Other cities have declared climate emergencies

Maple Ridge should do what’s right for our planet

Elementary students are hoping the city will recognize Real Acts of Caring week

Pitt Meadows students participate in Real Acts of Caring week

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

VIDEO: Giants win 10th straight on home ice in Langley

Family Day was about spending time with the fans and dazzling them with a 3-2 victory over Seattle

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Most Read