Former Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas is escorted from the speaker corridor to the legislative assembly after being elected speaker at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, September 8, 2017. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas apologizes for speech that says Hells Angels, Mafia ‘successful’

Speaker says when he mentioned Hells Angels, Mafia and U.S. President Donald Trump as examples of leaders

The Speaker of British Columbia’s legislature says a speech he gave this week about leadership went sideways and he is apologizing for offending people.

Darryl Plecas says the point he was trying to make in the speech before about 160 local government politicians was that crime bosses and some politicians are considered successful by many, but they don’t pass the leadership test.

The Speaker says when he mentioned the Hells Angels, Mafia and U.S. President Donald Trump as examples of leaders considered successful, some people attending the Lower Mainland Local Government Association gathering objected to his comments because they thought he was endorsing those leaders.

During his speech, Plecas criticized politicians for not meaningfully consulting with Indigenous people about decisions, comparing it to someone who was sexually assaulted and then telling them they were consulted first.

But he said what he meant was that unless consultations involve genuine input, some Indigenous people say governments use the term consult as if consent were given.

He says the comparison came directly from an Indigenous woman who made the same point to him.

A report by Plecas earlier this year about overspending allegations at the B.C. legislature resulted in the clerk and sergeant-at-arms being placed on indefinite suspension pending an RCMP investigation.

Plecas was re-elected as a Liberal in 2017, but was ejected from the party caucus and now sits as an Independent after he accepted the Speaker’s position in the minority New Democrat government.

The Canadian Press

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