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Please Advise! Are We Throwing Up Yet?

Dr. Steve read the report on alleged legislature excess. He’s still cleaning vomit off his shirt.

By Steve Burgess 23 Jan 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to the rich and famous, the troubled and well heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

So, did you throw up?



Dear Queasy,

A little. But when you’re a spin doctor, a bit of shirt vomit is part of the uniform.

“Part of the uniform.” Among the many riches offered by the Plecas report that newly minted catchphrase stands out.

Yesterday, B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas released his report on his allegations against two senior legislative officials. In it he claims that whenever Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz wanted to expense some fancy apparel — a $1,000 grey suit or an expensive watch — they would simply proclaim it “part of the uniform.”

That uniform, it seems, includes everything short of a kitchen reno. Still, it’s an idea with real potential. Why not take a wider view of suitable attire for our legislative officers? Say, a tiara, some lacy lingerie, or a leather harness? As long as the sergeant-at-arms was required to wear all such items while on duty, it would do wonders for TV coverage of question period.

Meanwhile, I suppose some of us may soon owe Plecas an apology. Amid all the mystery surrounding his actions to remove James and Lenz last year, and his subsequent promise that B.C. voters would surely upchuck when they heard his reasons, there were many raised eyebrows and snide remarks. Dr. Steve pleads guilty in this regard.

But the allegations of the Plecas report have been sufficiently horrifying to turn the moon itself blood red. While there are still legitimate questions to be asked about the way the events have been handled, and Lenz and James have denied any wrongdoing and promised a robust defence, Plecas’s report has at least fulfilled his own predictions for it. The list of allegations does indeed go down like a lukewarm tub of Campbell’s Cream of Botulism.

If anybody has been throwing up lately, it might be that they’ve found the missing liquor. Citing secondhand reports, Plecas alleges that in 2013 James may have left the legislature grounds with two pickup truck loads of booze, worth approximately $10,000, originally purchased for legislature events. (If this allegation is substantiated it could turn our legislative officers into potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court.)

Among other things, Plecas’s report has had the remarkable effect of creating a celebrity wood splitter. Plecas reports that said machine was ordered by James as an essential public utility, but then somehow delivered to James’ own residence — ready, no doubt, to spring into wood-splitting action the moment the legislative log pile ran low.

Before you judge, keep in mind that wood splitting has an honourable political history. On the campaign trail, Abraham Lincoln’s supporters referred to him as “the Rail-Splitter.” While we cannot bring Honest Abe back from the tomb, we can at least follow his example and stand ready when desperate times call for our leaders to lumber onward.

Certainly the B.C. wood splitter is now the most famous one since Lincoln. I only hope that it survives its brush with fame. Wood Splitter and Lindsay Arnold would make an awkward pair on Dancing With the Stars, although Wood Splitter might just cut it on Celebrity Big Brother.

The report also alleges that James managed to get a $258,000 retirement payout without actually retiring. This is intriguing. Once retirement payments are no longer contingent upon retiring, many options appear.

Dr. Steve is now wondering if it is possible to get a retirement payout without ever actually being hired. Dr. Steve has essentially been retired from his official legislature position since infancy. Surely there must be a sizable cheque somewhere with his name on it. What’s more, Dr. Steve is willing to not show up for lots and lots of government jobs, if the money is right. Let’s talk.

Plecas’s assistant Alan Mullen says the initial report is just the beginning. What new allegations may yet arrive? Attempts to have bourbon included in the Canada Food Guide? Expensive research into how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could use a wood splitter? $5.7 billion for a wall, and another billion for a cute little fountain and gazebo? We await further details.

And like any good physician, Doctor Steve advises you to avoid solid food for at least 24 hours prior to reading.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics

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