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

RCMP investigate sexual assault in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating a reported sexual assault at Sandwick… Continue reading

Comox Strathcona Waste Management board approves tour of Nova Scotia advanced recycling plant

Three CVRD representatives will tour Sustane Tech. plant while in Halifax for FCM conference

Comox opts for ‘blank sheet’ when it comes to cannabis bylaw

Comox council unanimously approved a bylaw to prohibit the sale of cannabis within the town.

Housing crisis amplified on Denman Island

High home and rental prices and a shortage of housing stock have led to island-wide struggles

Folk legend Arlo Guthrie returns to Vancouver Island MusicFest

Island MusicFest executive producer Doug Cox went to the well one more… Continue reading

Could facial scans and fingerprints make you unhackable?

New biometrics capabilities could be a game-changer for those trying to get on your accounts

CONTEST: Win a whale-watching tour for four

Where in the world are the Snowbirds?

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

New funds, recruits set to alleviate B.C. sheriff shortage

The Government of British Columbia announced new sheriff graduates, funding for more classes

Video: RCMP investigation gets a deer little photobomb

Princeton RCMP were conducting a drug investigation in Princeton which a deer strolled through

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

Unions set for national strike against CP Rail

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Most Read