In the days since emails were leaked to the NDP that revealed highly offensive strategies of ethnic voter manipulation by the B.C. Liberals, I've been waiting for a truly sincere and remorseful apology from the premier.
Her second attempt finally arrived on Sunday, following an emergency cabinet meeting. After hours of discussion behind closed doors, Liberal ministers filed out one by one to meet the press, most still professing strong support for their tainted leader Christy Clark.
The premier herself finally emerged, and with quite a defiant demeanor, apologized again. But as in her written statement of last week, she did not apologize for the document itself, for the blatant manipulation of ethnic communities, nor did she address the misuse of public resources.
She simply said she was sorry for the language used in the emails ... and went right on to talk about how shes going to lead the Liberals to a win in the next election.
She did not apologize to the public for the document, but did so Monday in the legislature when pressed by the Opposition.
Clearly, it was business as usual for Clark, digging herself out of yet another hole with no shame whatsoever. The only problem is, there is no way for her to legitimately distance herself from this one. If she says she didn't know what her closest staff (who also happens to be personal friends) were up to, it's akin to admitting incompetence. If she says she did, she admits her involvement. Either way, the premier is in it up to her hips in this one.
Perhaps you might understand why the image of Lance Armstrong keeps appearing in my head when I see the premier?
There is something very disturbing about the story that has now become known as "ethnicgate." Disturbing because it reveals something so disrespectful not only about the way Clark's government uses ethnic voters, but also the way they flagrantly disregard rules, regulations and democracy.
Really, do you think the use of personal emails to avoid Freedom of Information requests on government business is actually something new to Clark's government ? One would hardly think so. We know they delete emails as soon as they can. Remember the secrecy behind the dismissal of her former chief of staff, Ken Boessenkool? No paper trail to be found, the entire investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior with a staffer seemingly conducted verbally.
In any corporation, the way Clark handled that investigation would have been grounds for her dismissal. But no big deal, that's just the way things are done with this group.
Former Surrey B.C. Liberal riding executive James Plett summed it up best when he revealed his reasons for quitting his position in a blog post last week:
"What makes it so repugnant is that the government misused taxpayer dollars to put together a document explaining how the government could misuse taxpayer dollars further and to offer apologies for absolutely horrible things all for a bump in the polls."
"Ethnicgate" does not bode well for Christy's future. Her rosy glow has long since faded as more candid shots of her show the narrowed lips and eyes of a politician who will do and say anything to get to where she wants to be
Using public resources for partisan purposes? Secretive emails? What's next? It's quite clear that this isn't about creating good government, it's about position and power.
The question is, with a premier so completely blinded by ambition and so equally devoid of self-reflection, how far will she go to keep both in her grasp?