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

Just Posted

Goalie scores as Flames sink Whalers

Paul Tucek pots empty-netter, then fights break out.

On Cooking: Holiday baking tips

It is best to keep pie pastry as cold possible.

Gardening: Creating a white Christmas

‘Plenty of white flowers and foliage to choose from.’

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

Dwillies stepping down from Haney Farmers Market

Maple Ridge senior spends majority of life focused on food

Ridge hospital foundation helps with mental health

Donates a possible $500k for youth wellness

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read