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

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

LETTER: Sir John A(ryan) Macdonald

From reader Claus Lao Schunke

Evacuation alert for Syringa and Deer Park

The Syringa Creek Fire grew Saturday resulting in evacuation alerts.

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

VIDEO: Auto repair shop celebrates Nelson mural festival

A painting by Barry Overn at Downtown Automotive turned heads at the festival opening.

Mother charged with homicide of Langley seven-year-old

Aaliyah Rosa’s 36-year-old mother charged with second degree murder: IHIT

Despite threats, Soldiers of Odin a no show at B.C. tent city

Nanaimo’s Discontent City held a counter rally on Sunday

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in 2019

PM Justin Trudeau gears up to run in next year’s election

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

A massive cloud of smoke hangs over B.C. and Alberta due to wildfires

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

In response to the Pennsylvania report, Francis labeled the misconduct “crimes”

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

The pilot project provides seasonal workers with up to five more weeks of benefits

Trump rages on Mueller following Times report

Trump takes to Twitter calling Robert Mueller “disgraced and discredited”

BC Wildfire crew rescues lost puppies

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

Most Read