Corruption in B.C. Politics
Darryl Plecas is an educator, former MLA, father, and Professor Emeritus at the University of the Fraser Valley.
Why are people so pessimistic about politics? Many feel like their vote doesn’t matter, and that politicians are all corrupt. Are they right? Or, is it an imperfect system with some bad apples in the mix? I wanted to sit down with Darryl Plecas, former MLA and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of BC, to find out his perspective.
Darryl Plecas has worked at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) for 34 years in the criminology and criminal justice department. He is incredibly well-respected and even admired by many of the students and faculty. Dr. Plecas has served as the RCMP Senior University Research Chair and Director for the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research at UFV. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 books, international journal articles, and research reports addressing a broad range of public safety issues.
In 2013, he chose to enter provincial politics to try to be part of the solution. During this time, I actually reached out to Darryl for advice. I knew I would be graduating from UFV shortly and I didn’t know what next steps would look like. He was the first person to genuinely tell me that I should go to law school. Law was not really on my radar, and based on the people I knew who were applying - I didn’t fit the mold.
I decided to try though. I reached out to my close friend Andrew Kim, who had written his Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) to find out the process to apply. He passed on his books, and a lot of great advice and I got down to work. I was regularly sitting at Starbucks practicing, and preparing. Today, I can call myself a law school graduate, and I have Darryl Plecas to thank for believing in me. It isn’t just me, below is a quote of his mindset towards being an educator:
“I need to find out what is it that is going to excite you, and give you an opportunity to maximize on all the potential that you have. I always thought of every student as like - you’re the greatest. You’re going to go places. We just have to figure out where you’re going and how to get there”. - Darryl Plecas
Over the years, I’ve kept my eye on the controversies and drama that took place during his time as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). I knew that he had a complicated relationship with his party the BC Liberals. I was aware that he had called for Christy Clark to step down as leader of the party. I also saw that he made the news when he was removed from the BC Liberal Party, and became an Independent.
When I began preparing to sit down with Dr. Plecas, I started doing my research. Yeesh - all the interviews he did during his time as a politician make him look angry and frustrated. I wondered to myself, why? This is the man who encouraged me to go to law school. Why are all these short 2 minute clips of him being asked nonsense questions. One of the reporters asked if he was going to show up to the Legislature in the middle of the night to go through his staffs computers, to which he said “That is absurd”.
From every interview I found of him, his primary concern was rooting out corruption within the BC Legislature. During his time, he discovered how the system worked, and some of the bad actors within it. His passion has always been to reduce crime, and make sure we live in a fair and just society. He is a criminologist after all. Yet, it felt like the reporters were not acknowledging that - they were focused on the drama.
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I felt as though I could bring something unique to an interview with Darryl. I always plan the flow of the conversation prior. I don’t script the conversation, but I imagine how I would like the conversation to develop. In this instance, I thought it was important to introduce listeners to Darryl Plecas and his passion for building up his students. From there, we could talk about some of the fascinating research projects he has been involved with, and then lead into his work in politics. My hope was that anyone tuning in would see that this is a good earnest man, who entered politics to make a positive difference.
At the same time, I also know that many are pessimistic about politics and politicians. There are always people who say “why bother voting”. As Darryl talks about in our interview, it would have been easier for him not to get involved in politics at all. He talks about how he had an amazing job with UFV, and his life was good. But, John Martin told him that is EXACTLY why he needed to run. Darryl’s life was good, and he could help improve circumstances for others if he ran.
I found Darryl to be humble, inspirational and courageous despite all the challenges he faced in provincial politics. I think it is easy for us to blame others, blame the system, and throw our hands up in the air in frustration. The hard thing to do is to start to try to find a way to make a difference. I believe Darryl Plecas, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott set great examples of political leaders. They kept their principles and values close despite the adversity.
If you are looking for motivation, encouragement and some wild stories - I really recommend tuning into this episode. It was a blast to sit down with Dr. Plecas, and hear his perspective on the challenges our province faces. You can hear the full conversation on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all other podcast platforms. You can also follow the Bigger Than Me Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!