Leaked documents, broken trust, a secret scandal, a resignation, party backlash, and emergency meetings. It plays out more like an arrhythmia-inducing episode of the TV series, 24, than four days in the B.C. legislature. Yet, this week has seen a succession of dramatic events in provincial politics: the B.C. Liberals are left scrambling and our premier may be out of the game before the May election hits.
For a newbie, it's a lot to keep up with, especially after a week's break from the election proceedings. But I've learnt the hard way: you can't turn your back on politics for one moment or you're lost. Pretty much where I'm sitting right now. After a full day of political catch up, I'm still working my inner Nancy Drew trying to make sense of the past few days of mayhem, and what the online community has labeled #EthnicGate.
It started Wednesday, when the B.C. NDP leaked a 17-page document -- an internal memo between senior officials in the premier's office, revealing the government's covert plan to win ethnic votes using taxpayer financed resources.
The memo caused big controversy with its proposed misuse of public funds, but also its strategy to score some "quick wins" with multicultural groups. As stated in the memo, to gain votes the government would offer apologies for "historical wrongs" such as the Chinese head tax in 1885, and the Komagata Maru incident in 1914 that forced a ship of passengers back to India after a two month faceoff on Vancouver's coast.
The memo caused backlash not only from the offended ethnic communities it intended to reach, but also within the BC Liberal Party itself. An apology for the memo was issued, and Clark's chief deputy of staff, from whom the memo originated, resigned. These measures have not been enough however, and the premier has what appears to be a mutiny on her hands.
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It's obvious that Clark has had a rough go. What I can't discern is if the ongoing criticism of the premier is warranted to a) her character and leadership abilities or b) a lack of support from a team that is jumping ship around her.
My biggest question is if the premier does resign before the election in 70 days, will the B.C. Liberals be able to recoup their considerable loss in public opinion with another leader at the helm? Is Premier Christy Clark going to become a sacrificial lamb to save the face of the B.C. Liberal party?
The latest Angus-Reid public opinion poll cites 45 per cent of people surveyed say their opinion of Clark has worsened over the past three months and also shows the B.C. Liberals holding a 58 per cent disapproval rate -- the highest among the party rankings. And these numbers are before the ethnic vote scandal.
My Nancy Drew says these aren't great odds.
So what is the newbie to do with all this information? Wait it out. That's my strategy. Taking a mum's sage advice: just go to bed and everything will make sense in the morning. And forget Monday night's season finale of The Bachelor, I'm tuning into the news to see what real-life drama unfolds! Will Christy get the final rose?