Abbotsford recall campaign aims to have Plecas removed from office
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019 5:19PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 9, 2019 2:41PM PST
If being embroiled in the drama that unfolded in the B.C. legislature last fall wasn't enough, Speaker Darryl Plecas now has a new problem on his hands: disgruntled voters who are mobilizing to get him removed from office altogether.
Former Liberal party member Robin Roy is behind a Facebook page called "BCrecall2018" and says he speaks for a group of Abbotsford residents in Plecas' home riding who plan to launch a recall campaign against him later this month.
The unhappiness of some voters in Abbotsford South stems from the Liberal MLA's decision to take the job as speaker in the first place, strengthening the NDP's minority government in the process.
In an area that has a history of sending Liberals to Victoria, it's a move that still stings.
"It disgusted me that it was done very (sneakily), very backhanded," Roy told CTV News. "It was not out in the open. It was not asking his constituents 'Would you like me to bolster the other side?'"
According to Elections BC, the recall process is unique to the province and allows voters to petition to remove an MLA from office by collecting signatures from at least 40 per cent of eligible voters in an electoral district. Recall petition applications cannot be submitted in the first 18 months after a member is elected.
If he loses his seat, Plecas would no longer be able to serve as speaker.
Some of those who plan to take party in the recall campaign are also unhappy with the way Plecas handled the suspensions of the legislature's sergeant-at-arms and house clerk. Gary Lenz and Craig James were suddenly placed on administrative leave in November amid a criminal investigation that remains shrouded in mystery.
"I believe we have a really good shot at this recall," Roy said, adding that more than 300 volunteers are ready to mobilize.
But supporters of the campaign face a daunting task, with just sixty days after they begin the campaign to collect a large number of signatures.
And their biggest obstacle might be voter apathy.
"To tell you the truth I don't delve much into politics," one resident told CTV Tuesday.
Another said they were "kind of indifferent" about the issue.
Plecas declined CTV's request for comment about the recall campaign.
Robin said he hopes Plecas will step down voluntarily, but realized that a recall might be the only way to get him out of office.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro