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New BC speaker 'discourages' unelected Premier Clark from note passing

On Linda Reid's second day as speaker in British Columbia's legislature, she chided the leader of her party, Premier Christy Clark.

During question period Clark, who was not elected as an MLA in the recent election and was seated behind the government benches, passed a note to Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett while he was being grilled about cost overruns on BC Hydro's northwest transmission line project.

NDP house leader John Horgan raised Clark's action as a point of order, recorded in the Hansard: "I'm wondering if the Sergeant-at-Arms can advise if guests in the precinct sitting on the outside, not members of this Legislature, are entitled to pass notes to ministers.

"I know I've certainly not seen that in my time in this place," Horgan said. "I know that there are people seeking election, but you have to get elected to be active in this place, and passing notes to ministers is the wrong way to go."

Reid reserved her ruling until after question period ended.

"I will note that although the guests on the floor of the House cannot participate or disrupt proceedings in any way, there are no restrictions prohibiting them from communicating with members informally in verbal or written form," she said. "However, I would discourage the practice."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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