Speaker Linda Reid enters B.C. legislature chamber for throne speech, led by former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and followed by legislature clerk Craig James, June 26, 2013. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

Speaker Linda Reid enters B.C. legislature chamber for throne speech, led by former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and followed by legislature clerk Craig James, June 26, 2013. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

B.C.’s longest-serving female MLA announces retirement after 28 years

Ex-speaker Linda Reid silent on legislature liquor removal

Former B.C. legislature speaker Linda Reid is retiring from politics at the end of her seventh term, as the longest-serving current MLA and the longest-serving woman in the province’s history.

Reid has represented her Richmond constituency since 1991, the year of former B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Wilson’s breakthrough to replace Social Credit as the dominant centre-right party in provincial politics.

Reid said in a statement issued by the party that she intends to continue serving as Richmond South Centre MLA and B.C. Liberal critic for seniors until the next B.C. election, scheduled for the fall of 2021.

Reid served as B.C. legislature speaker from 2013 to April 2017, and assistant deputy speaker during the NDP government that followed. She resigned from that role in February 2019 after being named in current Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report alleging financial improprieties by senior legislature officials.

Plecas cited an unnamed “whistleblower” who claimed to have been fired after questioning Reid’s expense claims for a taxi to the Helijet terminal in Vancouver and vehicle mileage after she arrived in Victoria. Former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz checked receipts on file and determined that was appropriate use of MLA travel expenses to travel from Richmond.

RELATED: Speaker Reid repays husband’s South Africa airfare

RELATED: Linda Reid gives up role as assistant deputy speaker

Lenz and former B.C. legislature clerk Craig James have since resigned as Plecas continues his investigations into spending, travel and treatment of legislature staff during their time as top administrators. In addition to an RCMP investigation that is still ongoing with two special prosecutors overseeing it, Plecas retained former Vancouver Police deputy chief Doug LePard to interview staff members and others, including Reid.

LePard’s report, released with many blanked-out portions in September, relates how Reid declined to be interviewed about witness accounts of the removal of large quantities of liquor from the legislature and allegedly loaded into James’ pickup truck in 2013.

Reid responded in writing via her lawyer, who refused to answer questions about the liquor incidents, calling the questions outside the scope of LePard’s inquiry.

According to LePard’s report, a legislature staffer identified only as “Witness 7” told LePard he was asked by Lenz to load a desk, chair and liquor into James’ truck on April 19, 2013, to take to retiring speaker Bill Barisoff at his Penticton-area home.

The report states Witness 7 said a second load of liquor was put in the truck the following Monday, April 22, describing enough wine and sealed and opened cases of hard liquor to fill the truck’s box.

Reid had her own controversy over spending during her time as speaker, after travelling to South Africa with her husband to a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference. Reid eventually repaid the $5,528 cost of her husband’s business-class airfare to Johannesburg in August 2013.

Deputy speaker and Burnaby NDP MLA Raj Chouhan and his wife also attended, but then-NDP caucus chair Shane Simpson said they flew economy and stayed at a budget hotel in Johannesburg, at a combined cost of $6,300.

B.C. speakers, deputy speakers and legislative clerks traditionally attend these Commonwealth conferences, aimed a strengthening parliamentary practices around the world.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

The Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department responded to an engine Dec. 3 on Highway 16, using a compressed air and foam solution to extinguish the flames. (Submitted Photo/Krista Bowman)
Semi truck engine catches fire in Thornhill

Firefighters used a compressed air and foam solution to put out the fire

A volunteer committee is urging the provincial government to complete grizzly habitat mapping. (Ivan Hardwick photo)
Volunteer committee urges province to complete grizzly habitat mapping

Committee says only 18 of 37 watersheds have been mapped, province has spent $500,000 so far

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Terrace RCMP arrested an impaired driver and found illicit drugs, weapons and stolen property in the vehicle on Nov. 28, 2020. (File Photo)
Terrace RCMP arrest impaired driver in possession of weapons

Weapons, illicit drugs, stolen property found in vehicle

A COVID-19 exposure has been recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure occurred between Nov. 23 and Nov. 26, 2020. (Centennial Christian School Facebook photo)
COVID-19 exposure recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace

It’s the first known school exposure in Terrace

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read