Category Archives: Christy Clark

“None of my staff were involved in this, aside from creating it.”

From the Legislature today:

On the ethnic outreach memo controversy:

The Premier has made a categorical assertion, not weeks ago, days ago, that this was not the case. Now, I appreciate that new information may come forward, and the Premier may feel she was incorrect a number of days ago. But that information clearly was wrong.

So what we need from the Premier today, I think, is at least an acceptance, an understanding that what was said, that the assertion that was made by the Premier that this did not involve her staff — it involved somebody else, but not the Premier’s office — was incorrect. Will the Premier confirm that today?

–– Adrian Dix, 2:03pm.

The Premier:

“I would ask the member to be careful to characterize what I said, which was that there is no evidence that I’m aware of that my staff was involved in this. As far as I know, my staff were only involved in creating it. That is what I said, and that remains true.”

–– Premier Christy Clark, March 4, 2:05pm.

Spin Alert: John Yap out of Cabinet and Under the Bus, What about Bloy? (Updated)

Spin alert!

In the quiet part of the legislative day before question period called Statements by Members, normally reserved for constituency updates, Premier Christy Clark rose and announced that Minister John Yap, Minister for Advanced Education and Multiculturalism, will step aside pending the investigation into the “ethnic outreach” memo that has been shaking up the BC political scene as of late.

In his stead, Ralph Sultan, Minister of State for Seniors, will be Minister of Advanced Education as well.

But why?

John Yap was not Minister of Advanced Education and Multiculturalism when this memo was written, in late 2011.  Forcing him to step aside now is questionable, as he had no direct involvement in its development or the hiring of the outreach component of the plan.  However, he didn’t deal with it – obviously.

The Minister of Multiculturalism at the time? None other than Christy Clark’s only caucus supporter during the leadership contest – Harry Bloy.

 

 

Could it be that Clark’s spin plan here is to step the Minister aside, and then announce that he (and thus the government) had nothing to do with it?

There are other reports showing “multicultural strategy” on the daily agendas of Premier’s Office staff. Perhaps there’s someone else who should be stepping aside.

Here’s an update:

Clark says that according to the information that she had, none of her staff were involved in the ethnic outreach document, aside from creating it.

Clark also says that there is “no evidence that public money was spent” but that “it is possible.” She further says that most of the actions contemplated in the document were not implemented.

Further update:

The spin on Haakstad’s resignation, per Clark’s statements in the legislature today, is that she resigned “without severance.”

Anticipate swipes and spin following the line that when Dix was involved in a scandal under Glen Clark, he received severance.

Spin Alert: Just what is Christy Clark apologizing for, exactly?

The BC cabinet has finished its non-emergency emergency meeting this evening, meeting with Premier Christy Clark, whom the media are now openly calling the “embattled premier.”

Speaking to reporters, Clark has apparently “apologized” for the “language used” in the ethnic Quick Wins document, saying that she had to “make it right.”

A few questions remain in my mind.

If Clark is apologizing for the “language used” in this document, is she not apologizing for using government funds to hire outreach staff to do work directly for the BC Liberal party?

Is she not apologizing for what appears to be using government databases to build up BC Liberal campaign databases?

Is she not apologizing for what appears to be a strategy of using personal e-mail addresses to avoid the Freedom of Information Act and keep these memos hidden?

And:

Would Christy Clark have apologized if this secret memo hadn’t been leaked?

I think there’s a hint in that this memo was written in 2011.

Who’s Running BC?

It has been a month of amateurish politics starting with the government posting the auditor-general’s job. Then this week the government backed down several steps to keep from ejecting the well-respected A-G John Doyle from his chair with an attempt at saving face by changing the legislation surrounding his appointment. As if they meant to do that anyway.

But there’s something fishing about how the premier backed down this week. Take a look:

In a move described by critics as a massive flip-flop and policy making on the fly, Clark on Wednesday proposed legislative changes to the Auditor General’s Act while also expressing her “hope” that the three Liberal MLAs on the committee would vote to reappoint Doyle for another two years.

– via B.C. Premier Clark asks auditor-general John Doyle to stay on for two more years

The A-G appointment must be done by unanimous consent of the responsible legislative committee, that is majority-led by the government. Yet the premier indicated [in bold above] that she hopes her MLAs on the committee will reappoint Doyle for the remainder of his new legislatively extended term.

Hope? Let’s examine that.

  1. If she has control of her caucus she can direct her MLAs to vote as she wants in a committee. This means she approved of the committee expiring Doyle in the first place and now she is responding to the backlash by trying to fix the error. In this case, her “hope” that her MLAs will vote to retain Doyle is just spin and fluff.
  2. Or, she does not have control of her caucus and the committee dumped Doyle on their own and now she is responding to the backlash to fix the optics problem and she quite honestly hopes they’ll keep Doyle.
  3. Or, she knew about but didn’t care about the committee expiring Doyle, and now she has decided to back down on that.
  4. Or, legislative committees always operate independently of party whipping, but I’ve seen no evidence of this.
  5. Or, other options?

Regardless of which of the above options is the truth, this whole affair is bad for a credibility-challenged government struggling to look professional and competent, while getting caught up in commenting way too much on MILFs.

May 14 is election day. Make sure you are registered to vote and that Elections BC HAS YOUR CURRENT ADDRESS!

Politics, Re-Spun Talks with Jarrah Hodge from Gender-Focus.com About Feminism and Work

On December 3, 2012 Politics, Re-Spun’s Stephen Elliott-Buckley spoke with Jarrah Hodge from Gender-Focus.com, exploring issues around feminism and labour, and:

  • labour unions
  • the BC Federation of Labour
  • temporary foreign workers
  • migrant Chinese coal miners [reminiscent of how Canada built its railroad]
  • improving justice and equality in the labour movement
  • how the premier is doing in relating to women and women in work.

Listen to the podcast here: itpc://dgivista.org/pod/Vista_Podcasts.xml 

Or you can listen to the mp3 file herehttp://www.dgivista.org/pod/2012.12.03.Coop.Jarrah.Hodge.mp3

School employers seek to force BCTF members to volunteer

This is kind of amazing – the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association (the arms-length thing the government created to manage negotiations with the BCTF) is going to the LRB to try to have the withdrawal by teachers from voluntary activities declared illegal.

Uhh, what? So the BC government thinks that not volunteering is illegal? What’s next, mandatory volunteering at work?

The application states argues that withdrawing from voluntary activity is unlawful. Well played, BC government. Mandatory, forced voluntarism. Freedom reigns.

Breaking Spin-Watch: Rat(s) Off A Ship? John van Dongen Crosses The Floor

In a somewhat surprising move, Abbotsford-South MLA John van Dongen rose in the Legislature in BC today and delivered a blistering critique of Christy Clark’s BC Liberal government, and then announced that he would cross the floor to join the fledgling BC Conservative Part..

van Dongen’s speech included an indictment of the government’s write-off of six million dollars to pay the Basi-Virk BC Rail Trial legal fees, and the disastrous handling of the Telus naming rights.

Spinners were already in action, with Shachi Kurl saying “who didn’t see that coming?”

Keep your eyes open for more – van Dongen says more is coming, and blogger Alex Tsakumis, who while I’m not the biggest fan, has said more MLAs are thinking of crossing.

This is particularly interesting given two byelections in full force; what effect will a wounded BC Liberal Party have in Chilliwack-Hope, already expected to be a battle between the BC Conservatives and the NDP, despite being a steady BC Liberal riding for some time?

Update:  Continue reading Breaking Spin-Watch: Rat(s) Off A Ship? John van Dongen Crosses The Floor

Is Withholding Sex Now Sex Abuse?

Or, Is Lysistrata A Sex Offender?

I attended today, along with Alex, a discussion panel to remember the Montreal Massacre where Marc Lepine murdered fourteen women at the École Polytechnique simply because they were women and he thought that they had prevented him from attending the school.

A lot of people – including many Conservatives who claim to fully support the equality of women (in the eyes of the law) – will argue that since the days of the Montreal Massacre society has advanced by leaps and bounds.

And sure, we’ve gone some distance since we established in law that women were merely the chattel property of their husbands or that forced sex in marriage was not rape because the woman were expected to provide sex to their husbands.

Or have we?

One of the courageous and amazingly strong women presenting at the panel today pointed out that in a time where the Family Law Act was being revised to erase gendered definitions (partially, perhaps, as an attempt to treat everyone equally in the law, and partially, perhaps, to fix legal issues once same sex marriage was legalized) that not everything has changed, and perhaps some areas have been changing back, in a scary way.

The example she used? A fact sheet from the Legal Services Society of BC (“a non-profit organization accountable to the public and funded primarily by the Ministry of Attorney General“) that defines sexual abuse of men by women as including

criticising a man’s sexual performance and/or withholding sex as punishment.

This is in context of replacing gendered terms in the Family Law Act and updating the ‘legal information for battered women’ with more gender neutral language.

So much for that. Here’s what the definitions on this fact sheet look like:

20111203-213143.jpg
Imagine that – here, we’re going to the odd length of defining “partners” who abuse men as exclusively women, in a time where we’re de-gendering the system, completely ignorant that the vast majority of partner-abuse cases are perpetrated by men against women.

And here’s their terrifying description of what sex abuse is:

20111203-213444.jpg
This astounds me. In an age where we should be stressing what consent is to men, making sure that we’re holding rapists to account and not blaming their victims, we’re defining withholding sex as sex abuse committed by women against men?

Some intrepid reporter should ask our Families First (TM) Premier if she thinks saying “no” to a violent man and refusing to have sex with him is abuse.

Not to mention that this pamphlet seems to have classified Lysistrata as a sex offender, and even the women of Belgium who threatened to withhold sex to try to end their country’s political stalemate.

In short, however, the message to me is clear: we might think we’ve come a long way in gender equality since the Montreal Massacre, but the truth is that we haven’t.

The police who respond to a domestic abuse call are likely to classify it as a “dispute” and not help women in need. The justice system, with an eye to formal equality, doesn’t always understand that legalistic equality does not always mean substantive equality. A system that has for hundreds and thousands of years merely regarded women as the property of their men is not fundamentally changed by removing gendered nouns in the law. More must be done.

I most definitely do not consider a a woman who says “no” to sex with a man after he hits her or degrades her to be abusing him, and I think it is preposterous for a government funded organisation that is supposed to provide educative materials to the public to suggest that it might be.

Consent is consent. Denying consent is not abusive. Suggesting, however, the denying consent is abusive is the most perverse enabling of abuse that I have ever seen.

We spend too much time as a society blaming women for being raped, allegedly through what they wear or where they walk. We shouldn’t be saying that taking control of their own bodies is somehow abusive.

Politics, Re-Spun on Coop Radio, September 5, 2011

Spending Labour Day with Imtiaz Popat on “The Rational” on Vancouver’s COOP Radio, talking about Christy Clark’s revocation of a pre-2013 election date [coup, not really a premier, perhaps a “notional premier”], the end of the HST, the BCTF negotiations and how the courts noted how the government yanked almost $3 billion from BC’s K-12 system over the last 10 years, the federal NDP leadership race and the Canucks riot report as it relates to Vancouver’s municipal political scene.

Apologies for the abrupt ending: technical difficulties.

And a note on the BCTF strike action in Kelowna: it sounded ambiguous that the teachers were the ones who canceled recess. The teachers are going to start the school year not supervising at recess. The school board decided to cancel recess. This way, administrators don’t have to supervise that 15 minute chunk of time each year. See here.

Christy Clark Dabbles in Tea Party Rhetoric

It’s one thing to lose a referendum on a regressive tax that came in on a lie, that was a tax shift from businesses to real human beings, and that removed PST exemptions on real necessities or awesome products like cloth diapers, kids shoes, food, smoke alarms, child car seats, bikes and fire extinguishers. But it’s wholly another thing to delay the removal of the HST for 18 months, which brings it up to around the next fixed election date. This way the government gets to keep their FrankenTax for almost their whole term, assuming the premier doesn’t hold an ego election sooner.

There is no way in the world it will take 18 months to revert back to the old tax regime. They need to step that up, and the BC Conservative Party has already demanded that. Good for them!

But then on Friday the premier sent out an email to her supporters [I wonder if anyone in cabinet received it!] detailing her thoughts on moving forward, post-HST. It was sprinkled with Tea Party rhetoric. Let’s take a look!

Continue reading Christy Clark Dabbles in Tea Party Rhetoric