Dear Premier Clark,
You knew about "Ethnicgate" from the beginning. You had to.
I was there, Ms. Clark, and know how government works -- especially when the civil service is involved in politics. With a program this size -- in the hands of your senior adviser; with the complexity involved, meaning the number of people in the know; and given the channels through which this sort of plan (or should I say plot) must pass, even if you had not wanted to know, you still would be have been informed.
That's what premiers are all about.
If -- and I say this couldn't happen -- you didn't hear or say anything, then your incompetence is beyond belief (actually, come to think of it, there's plenty of other evidence on that point). If this is the case, then you must resign.
If, on the other hand, you knew what was happening, premier, then you must also resign.
You make the point that "nothing crossed your desk." But we know from the privacy commissioner that your government puts nothing of importance in writing.
Out of a lengthy cabinet meeting, one minister, John Yap, ran onto his sword as a sacrificial lamb. That's a little like throwing people off the sled to the howling wolves so they will be content before they reach the driver. It is not going to work.
Even within the pitiful media, which has given the Liberal government a free pass for 11 years, this matter will not go away.
Kash Heed is right. An examination by your own deputy minister is laughable and I wonder at why he took the task. He should have refused to get into a political matter which also involved his colleagues or offered his resignation. Only an outside person of repute, like Ted Hughes, can approach the matter with the clean hands and clear vision required.
Madam Premier, you should personally do what you would have demanded of an NDP minister in similar circumstances: RESIGN!
Your party is in danger of a wipeout like the one you inflicted on the NDP in 2001. This means that your party could in itself be in danger of collapse, for in heavy rejection by the voters, the cabinet ministers are often the first to go.
Your clear answer is two-fold: resign and appoint someone from your caucus who can make the best of the May election and be in a position to rebuild the party. It was the refusal to do this in 1991 that cost the Socreds not just the election but their own party.
Who knows? When your self-inflicted wounds result in a catastrophe, maybe the Socreds will return! Stranger things than that have happened in B.C. politics!
To close, Premier, I will be dealing with environmental matters that your government has avoided and continues to avoid but I'll leave on this note:
Either you are lying through your teeth or you have no business in the premier's chair (I suppose it could be both) and must resign.
Rafe Mair (B.C. cabinet minister 1975-81)
(This blog originally appeared on The Common Sense Canadian.)
Follow Rafe Mair on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RafeMair