Combat sexism, misconduct by voting in more women: former B.C. premier

Christy Clark is publicly commenting on recent resignations in Canadian politics

B.C.’s former premier Christy Clark is calling for more women to fill leadership positions, following the resignations of three men in Canadian politics amid sexual misconduct and harassment allegations.

In a post on both her professional and personal Facebook pages, Clark – who was the first woman to be elected leader of B.C. – called out the “frat-boy behaviour” that she says existed during her 25 years in the political arena.

“We are watching history being made right now,” she wrote. “Politics is a brutal and very often brutally sexist business — one that has historically reduced women like me to a footnote in history.”

Clark began by thanking the women who have come forward to report issues of sexual harassment and misconduct against Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, Nova Scotia Conservative leader Jamie Baillie and federal sport minister Kent Hehr.

“Every one of you has set a powerful example and every day more women are finding their voices as a result,” she wrote.

Clark said that one way to address treatment of women in politics is to have a gender balanced cabinet, where sexism and harassment can’t be ignored when a woman is in the room.

“The vast majority of men would never behave the way that Patrick Brown and Kent Hehr are alleged to have behaved. But the fact is that in a workplace with few women, as politics very much still is, sexist and inappropriate behaviour happens a lot,” she wrote.

“Having a gender balanced Cabinet won’t have an impact if the bureaucrats who do the heavy lifting are almost all men.”

Clark called on political parties to do more to recruit women to run for office – specifically parties that are in opposition who have more “open” seats in which there is no incumbent.

In B.C., 33 woman hold MLA positions, compared to 53 men. There is one vacant seat ahead of the Kelowna-West byelection in February, but former Liberal MLA Ben Stewart is the heavy favourite to recapture his old seat.

In the most recent provincial election in 2017, 12 women were elected for the first time, as well as eight men.

Clark said citizens have the power to elect more women – as long as they’re qualified.

“Not every woman is better just because she’s female,” Clark said, “but if she’s smart and capable, give her the chance.”

Horgan says culture of politics changing

In response to Clark’s comments, B.C. Premier John Horgan said that while his government is committed to gender parity equality, the culture of politics has changed in recent years.

“There’s not a frat boy sentiment in our group,” he said while speaking on a teleconference call Friday from Seoul, South Korea, where he is on a trade mission.

“In the time I’ve been a member of the legislature, certainly there is an old boys culture to the institution,” Horgan told reporters.

“But I believe that’s been changing over the past number of years and will continue to better reflect where we, as a society, want to be and the role of women in our government, in our industry and in our communities.”

Politicians speak up about recent sexual misconduct allegations

In the past 24 hours, leaders from across the country have voiced their support for equal treatment of women.

Here’s a bit of what they had to say:

Trudeau commends women who came forward about Patrick Brown:

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says Tories have ‘zero tolerance’ on harassment:

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh calls Patrick Brown allegations ‘heinous’:

Ontario Premier Wynne and NDP leader Horwath applaud ‘courage’ of Patrick Brown accusers:

Just Posted

Port McNeill Cannabis Committee stumbles out of the gate

“I’m worried we could just be all over the map and I need to see a plan.”

Port Alice’s new RCMP officers going through clearance process

The medical process can take several months to complete as there are several steps involved.

UPDATED: East Zeballos placed under evacuation alert as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

BC Wildfire Service says rolling debris on steep terrain poses danger to firefighters

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Port Hardy Fire Rescue knocks down wildland fire

PHFR members responded to the scene, located the fire, and contained it to the immediate area.

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Most Read