Editorial: The Speaker shouldn’t be an MLA

Time to re-evaluate the Speaker position

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, and against motions of no confidence. This adds 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 it is 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

Couple selling fake jewelry in Fraser Lake, say RCMP

A man and woman have been defrauding local residents, offering fake jewelry for sale

Gitxsan forming cross-sector salmon management team

Nation again declares closure of fishery in territory for 2019

Editorial: The Speaker shouldn’t be an MLA

Time to re-evaluate the Speaker position

Column: condition of cows after winter feeding

The protein content of winter feed is important, says rancher David Zirnhelt

Concept designs for Vanderhoof’s new CNC campus unveiled

Community was invited to provide feedback at a public engagement session Dec. 6

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Break-in at home of detained Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on America’s request

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Most Read