The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Laura KANE

VAN­COU­VER — For­mer Bri­tish Columbia premier Christy Clark has weighed in on the dis­cus­sion around sex­ual mis­con­duct in Cana­dian pol­i­tics, say­ing she saw plenty of “frat boy be­hav­iour” dur­ing her time in of­fice.

Clark, who was the first woman elected premier in B.C., posted Thurs­day on Face­book that pol­i­tics is an of­ten “bru­tally sex­ist” busi­ness.

“All of us who have ex­pe­ri­enced a sex­ual as­sault, ha­rass­ment, or ag­gres­sive and un­wel­come ad­vances know it’s a damn hard thing to talk about,” she wrote, thank­ing women who have come for­ward.

“I was in­volved in pol­i­tics for 25 years and saw plenty of frat boy be­hav­iour. It made me prom­ise my­self that I would do things dif­fer­ently, should I ever get the chance to lead.”

Clark de­clined to ex­pand on the post when con­tacted, say­ing she would com­ment af­ter the B.C. Lib­eral leadership race that ends Feb. 3.

Pa­trick Brown, a for­mer leader of On­tario’s Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party, and Kent Hehr, a Lib­eral MP and cabi­net min­is­ter, have de­nied mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions in re­cent days.

Clark worked be­hind the scenes in pol­i­tics be­fore she was elected to the leg­is­la­ture for the B.C. Lib­eral party in 1996. She served as premier from 2011 to 2017, when her mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment was de­feated in a non-con­fi­dence mo­tion.

In 2016, she re­vealed in a Van­cou­ver Sun op-ed piece that when she was 13, a stranger pulled her off a side­walk into some bushes, but she was able to es­cape.

She said she never told any­one about the in­ci­dent or any of the other “fright­en­ing things of a sex­ual na­ture” that hap­pened to her as a youth.

Ad­vo­cacy groups com­mended Clark for com­ing for­ward, but they also crit­i­cized her track record on women’s is­sues, ar­gu­ing she had not in­creased funding to tran­si­tion houses and cri­sis cen­tres af­ter cuts by her pre­de­ces­sor.

Clark touted her achieve­ments in the Face­book post, say­ing her cabi­net had a greater per­cent­age of women than any in the pre­vi­ous decade, and she ap­pointed the first women to serve as the prov­ince’s at­tor­ney gen­eral and to lead BC Hy­dro.

“It’s an aw­ful lot harder for sex­ist be­hav­iour to go un­no­ticed or be de­lib­er­ately ig­nored when there’s a woman in the room,” she said.

“What can ev­ery cit­i­zen do to change it? Elect more women. Yes, make sure they’re qual­i­fied – not ev­ery woman is bet­ter just be­cause she’s fe­male – but if she’s smart and ca­pa­ble, give her the chance.”

First min­is­ters also shouldn’t load up their of­fices and the se­nior civil ser­vice with men, or use gen­der-bal­anced cab­i­nets as a fa­cade, she said.

“Yes, I get it, most of you are men, but cul­ture change starts at the top and if your ‘real’ cabi­net is mostly male, you won’t change a thing de­spite the win­dow dress­ing,” she said.

“We are watch­ing his­tory be­ing made right now. Pol­i­tics is a bru­tal and very of­ten bru­tally sex­ist busi­ness – one that has his­tor­i­cally re­duced women like me to a foot­note in his­tory. But, thanks to lots of brave women who are mak­ing their voices heard, change is FI­NALLY afoot.”


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.