National Newswatch

China death sentence dispute takes toll on B.C. tourism businesses

Jan 16 2019 — — The death sentence given to Canadian drug trafficker Robert Schellenberg by a Chinese court has spooked Canadian tourists planning to visit the People’s Republic. “Everyone is feeling it,” said Canadian travel agent Julius Yan, president of Laurus Travel. “The last couple of days, and especially this morning, we have been getting calls from people who […]

Hereditary chiefs demand their court-ordered right to be consulted

Jan 10 2019 — Daphne Bramham — For most of the last 50 years, Indigenous people have tried to negotiate, litigate and protest their way to a new relationship with Canada. In the past 21 years, they have won landmark rulings upholding their title to traditional territories, and their inherent rights including the right to self-government. Repeatedly, the Supreme Court has ruled […]

Recall campaign revs up against B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas

Jan 8 2019 — Rob Shaw — A recall campaign targeting Speaker of the legislature Darryl Plecas will begin at the end of January, says the organizer. Robin Roy, who runs the BCrecall2018 Facebook page, said his group plans to submit recall paperwork to Elections B.C. in the last week of the month to target Plecas, the MLA for Abbotsford South. “If […]

Judge raises concerns about using husband of Huawei exec as bail surety

Dec 11 2018 — — The judge presiding over the bail hearing of a high-ranking Chinese business executive seeking release pending an extradition hearing is questioning a proposal to have her husband act as a potential bail surety. Justice William Ehrcke raised the issue while a lawyer for Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of telecommunications giant Huawei who was arrested in […]

An embittered Speaker makes for a nervous B.C. government

Dec 10 2018 — Rob Shaw — Speaker Darryl Plecas was the focus last week during a raucous meeting at the legislature where he clashed with MLAs over his role in the suspension of the building’s two highest-ranking employees. The independent MLA for Abbotsford South went all-in with his career, pledging through several tirades he would soon reveal “serious concerns,” promising forensic […]

Huawei executive arrested at YVR appears to have family ties to Vancouver homes

Dec 7 2018 — — Huawei chief financial officer Wanzhou Meng’s family appears to have connections to at least two pricey Vancouver homes including one in the exclusive Shaughnessy neighbourhood, property records show. Meng, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was arrested by Canadian police while changing planes at Vancouver International Airport Dec. 1 on a warrant issued under […]

BC MLAs failed to keep tabs on an isolated legislature Speaker

Dec 3 2018 — Rob Shaw — After a long day at work at the legislature, Speaker Darryl Plecas and his special adviser, Alan Mullen, like to relax at the bar near the capital building. Belleville’s Watering Hole & Diner is a favourite haunt for MLAs, political staff and journalists. But among the crowd, you’re more likely to spot Plecas and Mullen […]

Suspended top B.C. legislature officials proclaim innocence

Nov 26 2018 — Rob Shaw — The B.C. legislature’s two highest-ranking officials, who were suspended amid unknown allegations of wrongdoing last week, reiterated their innocence at their first press conference Monday and said they’ve been deeply humiliated by how they were treated. Clerk Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz said they still don’t know what allegations are against them, and reiterated […]

Reforming the Senate by stealth

Nov 26 2018 — Daphne Bramham — These days, it’s proportional representation that most Canadians, especially British Columbians, think about if they think about democratic reform at all. There’s the provincial referendum and before that the federal Liberals’ briefly toyed with getting rid of first-past-the-post before jettisoning the idea.

NDP and Liberals use the beleaguered Speaker for a proxy war

Nov 25 2018 — — When Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas defected from the B.C. Liberal party last year to become legislature Speaker, he told his local newspaper he’d work hard to overcome the damage done to his credibility. “When I say, gee this is a good job for me, it’s because it’s a direct hit on impartiality, it’s a […]

Speaker tried to appoint friend as new sergeant-at-arms for B.C. legislature

Nov 22 2018 — Rob Shaw — Speaker Darryl Plecas came under renewed fire Thursday after it was revealed he tried to appoint his friend and political operative as the legislature’s new sergeant-at-arms upon engineering the suspension of top officials at the legislature. Plecas told a meeting of house leaders from the Liberals, Greens and NDP that his friend and political advisor, […]

Possible fraud and theft of public funds led to removal of two senior officers of the B.C. leg, sources say

Nov 22 2018 — Douglas Quan — Two senior officers of the B.C. legislature who were publicly escorted out of the building in Victoria this week amid a criminal probe are being investigated for possible fraud and theft involving public funds, two sources told Postmedia News Wednesday. The investigation is being handled by the financial integrity unit of the B.C. RCMP, and […]

Don’t expect answers soon from RCMP about legislature suspensions

Nov 21 2018 — Vaughn Palmer — As the clock ran out on question period Tuesday morning, several members of the legislative chamber signalled reporters in the gallery above to stick around because something was up. Something big. Minutes later, NDP House leader Mike Farnworth interrupted the regular proceedings to move a bombshell motion. “That Mr. Craig James, clerk of the legislative […]