January 26, 2018 7:41 pm
Updated: January 26, 2018 10:19 pm

B.C.’s legislature is no stranger to inappropriate behaviour, ex-premier suggests

Christy Clark posts on social media to speak out about sexual misconduct in B.C. politics and what we can do to bring about positive change. Richard Zussman reports.

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Patrick Brown, the leader of the official opposition in Ontario, is gone.

The federal sport minister Kent Hehr has resigned.

And the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie was forced out over allegations of “inappropriate behaviour.”

The political shakeup is all part of the ongoing movement of victims of sexual assault and harassment coming forward, and it may also affect British Columbia.

Coverage of sexual misconduct in politics on Globalnews.ca:


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“I think this is not an issue that has geographic concentration or is concentrated along the political spectrum. I don’t think it’s out of the question it could happen here in B.C.” said Grace Lore, a political science PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia.

“What has been happening is a massive, critical first step. Since #metoo started there has been a start, women in politics talking about how it relates in politics. But we have never seen anything like this where men have lost their posts.”

Former premier speaks out

There have been no public allegations uttered recently against British Columbian politicians.

But on Thursday evening, former B.C premier Christy Clark posted a lengthy message on Facebook about her experience as Canada’s longest-serving female premier.

In the statement, Clark alluded to the fact she has seen inappropriate behaviour inside and outside the walls of British Columbia’s legislature.

“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,” Clark said in her Facebook post.

“But, thanks to lots of brave women who are making their voices heard, change is FINALLY afoot. I am delighted.”

READ MORE: ‘I had no doubt he wanted to hurt me’: Christy Clark breaks her silence on being assaulted

Clark herself was a victim of sexual assault. In June 2016, she spoke out publicly about an incident where a man pulled her into bushes while she was walking to work when she was 13 years old.

Clark suggested that having more women in senior government positions and in the bureaucracy would help reduce what she described as “frat boy behaviour.”

Experts added that witnessing women come forward with stories of sexual harassment or assault would help them do exactly that.

“What we are seeing here is a fundamental shift in power,” said Lesli Boldt, the head of Boldt Communications and a former NDP government staffer.

“I know women are being empowered to speak out by hearing other women speak out.”

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