The Speaker shouldn’t be an MLA

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

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: Continuing push to electrify rail service

Amid controversy about a new CP yard in Pitt Meadows, local reader suggests alternative system

Denise Castonguay with Rian, a five-year-old Newfoundland who has retired from breeding. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
Maple Ridge breeders “overwhelmed” as demand for dogs skyrocket

With an average two year wait for purebreds, prices inflated for mixed breeds and designer dogs

There is a COVID-19 outbreak at Maple Ridge Seniors Village. (Google)
COVID-19 outbreak at Maple Ridge long-term care home

Maple Ridge Seniors Village among 536 new cases

RCMP arrested Anthony Randy Kalt in December of 2020. (File photo)
Charges approved against Maple Ridge man after crime spree

Arrest warrant issued for second suspect from Surrey

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

The route of the pink parade. The Record has blackened out the name of the teen. Facebook photo.
Pink-vehicle parade to be held Sunday in support of transgender teen assaulted in Mission

Teen and family to watch parade drive single file along waterfront at 3 p.m., Jan. 17

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

Most Read