What will it take for a scandal to stick to Teflon Premier Clark?

Premier Christy Clark with Health Minister Terry Lake. | Photo courtesy of B.C. Government

Premier Christy Clark with Health Minister Terry Lake. | Photo courtesy of B.C. Government

A man is dead and now it turns out the government misled the public for years

It’s a scandal so big it could take down a government. That is, if anyone were paying attention.

Last week, documents revealed shocking new dimensions to the B.C. government’s scandalous handling of the firing of seven health researchers back in 2012. At the time, and in the following months and years, the B.C. Liberal government and health minister claimed that an RCMP investigation into the researchers was underway.

But nothing ever came of that so-called investigation. Most of the researchers ended up settling wrongful dismissal cases with the government. One of them, co-op student Roderick MacIsaac, committed suicide after he was fired.

It turns out the government was lying about that RCMP investigation. It never happened, but the government misled the public into believing it was ongoing, even as it failed to provide the RCMP with information that could have been used to carry out a proper investigation.

This shocking fact was revealed in documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun through a Freedom of Information request:

“‘Despite inferences in the media that the RCMP has undertaken an investigation or received information from the Province, this has not been the case,’ wrote Const. Dean Miller from the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime section, in a late 2014 report. ‘No tangible evidence or reports related to the allegations have been handed over. As such, no investigation has been initiated.’

NDP critic Adrian Dix said the documents ‘show a government that not just misled the public but misled the police. And it’s a very serious thing.’”

In other words, for more than two years, the B.C. Liberal government carried on with a fake story about a very serious matter that contributed to the death of one person and damaged the livelihoods and reputations of others.

In 2014 the government apologized to Roderick MacIsaac’s family, but only after his sister called them out publicly. And what was the government’s response to the revelation that they had been misleading the public all this time? Another forced apology. Or rather, a non-apology apology.

When questioned by reporters last week, Premier Christy Clark at first refused to apologize for the small matter of her government carrying on for years about a non-existent RCMP investigation. According to CBC News, Clark said, “I don’t have anything more to add to that… what I’ve said in the past is we, government, very much regrets that mistake that was made. It shouldn’t have been made and (government) has apologized for it. It was wrong.”

According to the report on CBC, it took a follow-up question to force an apology: “Asked whether she was referring to an apology for the firings or for misleading the public, Clark answered, ‘Both’.”

So Clark offered a forced apology, sounding a bit like, “Sorry you’re so offended we lied to you.”

The Health Ministry firings and their fallout are just one example of just how opaque and arrogant the B.C. Liberal government has become. Recently a former employee exposed the government for deleting emails requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Whistleblower Tim Duncan paints a shocking picture of an unethical government almost out of control behind the scenes. He objected when his bosses told him to delete emails related to the investigation of missing women on northern B.C.’s Highway of Tears. He told the Vancouver Province, “Here was the government playing games with these families. Instead of helping them get the answers they deserve, they were deleting emails and playing political games.”

These scandals make the news, but it often feels like the B.C. government is out of sight and out of mind for most people. Maybe it’s because the legislature has so rarely been in session in recent years, but no scandal, no matter how outrageous, has yet to really stick to Premier Clark.

The Teflon premier just moves on to the next shiny photo-op. In this case that meant standing on the shore of False Creek behind a podium decked out with the logos of Lululemon and AltaGas and announcing that on Sunday, June 21, the Burrard Bridge would be closed all morning for a giant yoga session.

Let’s not be distracted by the LNG-sponsored yoga spectacle. British Columbians need to work on being more mindful of provincial politics.

20 thoughts on “What will it take for a scandal to stick to Teflon Premier Clark?

  1. It amazes me how government’s and premiers can lie yet nothing happens. Is there no accountability?

  2. This Christy Clark Liberal Government is just part of the Harper Government fan club.Mean,dirty and above the law.They feel nothing but disdain for the people of Canada,and have a Corporate agenda which allows nothing to get in their way.They spend our tax dollars openly on their own needs and Friends.And keep a great distance between themselves and the Public.They are the worst Government behind Stephen Harper.And are bent on filling their pockets and destroying Canada.Selling us to the highest bidder at huge costs to Canadians,and all behind closed doors.
    D’Arcy Rattray
    Mill Bay BC

  3. Why challenge wrongs?

    A government (in Alberta, the PC’s) that have been in power for 44 years, paid handsomely to serve and whose members allegedly boast of impunity: “I own the police and judiciary” is detrimental to the public interest.

    It was a collective effort that spurned the people into waking up and demanding change; individuals who challenge the illusion, people caring to be vocal in order to improve lives of our vulnerable. Sometimes facing threat of legal recourse and imprisonment in order to take a stance to end corruption or strived for judicial accountability. Each person who has opted against silence to educate.

    We have seen a shift and that is thanks to all, including mainstream media, who despite initial criticism, have showed the truth to those unaware. Karen Kleiss and Darcy Henton lead a valiant movement to offer the general public a look at reality; where government had attempted to quell concerns of “8” child deaths stemming from the Child Welfare System, they were pushed into disclosing the truth… Trickling out, “56” fatalities turned into 741 (currently rests at 775 young victims.)

    Whistleblowers, such as the Chief Coroner, Dr. Anny Sauvageau who refused to “keep it secret.” Alleging the Office is corrupt and death reports for children in care have been manipulated. It is repetitively demonstrating to the public that wrongs exist and working creatively to solve issues (as opposed to simply complaining) which have brought forward successful outcomes.

    I believe that people are mainly good and that truth cannot be repressed indefinitely by select persons in power who choose evil. No one is immune from targeting, not even themselves and that has lead to their own downfall. – VM

  4. It will take the media in BC to bring to story to the front page and to question Christy and cabinet on a daily basis.

  5. Thank you for your post! With the media in BC being compliant in hiding much of what the Liberals are doing, columns like yours shine a much needed light on the hideous dealings of this woman, and her government.
    Thank you.

  6. The public in general would probably become more incensed by what is happening with this government if we really believed that a change in parties would change anything. I don’t know if the power attracts corrupt people or creates corrupt people!

  7. I’d like some help in deciding where to start. There is a lot wrong with this province, but I am easily overwhelmed. Articles like this raise my blood pressure, but not my inclination to give a shit unless I was given clear instruction on where to go, how to start and how to best use my time.
    For the record: I refuse to address my letters/emails to her as “Honorable Premier Clark”. She icks me out so much.

  8. You know, a man died, for God’s sake?! What in hell is there for Christy Clark and Terry Lake to laugh about, until they finally tell the truth? This is simply disgusting – and perhaps criminal.

  9. This seems to be just a story about a story. What’s the actual story behind the lie ? Basically all we’re told here was that the government lied, and kind of apologized about the lie. Or is that all that is known about it ?

  10. Is this the Premier’s way of getting back at the First Nations in the province by having a big LNG-sponsored yoga party on National Aboriginal Day???? No class!!

  11. When the ELECTED fail to notify the POLICE to conduct an investigation on the wrong doing, then we the PUBLIC should have the right to request one. Christy has lied since day one and she can not be trusted.

  12. Once again we the public, the tax payers are mislead by the very same person who seems to act as if she is above having to answer for her “Mistakes”. Very well put when referring to her forced apology, that’s exactly it, forced. But then what do you expect from her closing a very much needed and used bridge for, YOGA! I’m still stumped at that one, who’s pockets get lined with that idea I wonder. Not to mention Vancouver is now the butt of many jokes world wide. Shame on her and shame on those who support her in these area’s.

  13. Obviously written to influence votes. I am sick and tired of it all, and will vote the way I choose………….

  14. Nothing illegal, or “misleading” surprises me from the Liberals. Crooks and liers all. Why every keeps voting for them is beyond me.

  15. I have been so focused on the federal scene that I’ve been guilty of mostly ignoring our province’s politics. It doesn’t help that every time I see a Christy Clark photo op I cringe and shut down. Great article, thanks for altering people to this debacle.

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