Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Premier's adviser forced to quit over ethnic-vote scandal

  • Print

VICTORIA -- B.C. Premier Christy Clark accepted the resignation Friday of one of her closest advisers as the fallout over a leaked strategy aimed at wooing ethnic voters continued to rock her Liberal government.

Kim Haakstad, who was Clark's deputy chief of staff and has worked with the premier for years, resigned as the controversy over the ethnic-vote strategy tore at caucus unity.

"Kim reached her decision after much consideration of her roles and responsibilities," Clark said in a statement late Friday afternoon.

At least one Liberal MLA slammed his own party publicly over the leaked memo, which appeared to condone using public money to help the Liberals spread their ethnic message in time for the May 14 election.

Dave Hayer, an Indo-Canadian who has been a Liberal MLA since 2001, condemned the plan Friday, adding his voice to a furor unleashed earlier in the week when the Opposition NDP leaked the 17-page strategy document dated January 2012.

"This proposed outreach plan was insulting to the intended targeted communities and was, when I found out about it, insulting to me and to all other MLAs who believe in doing things properly, fairly and within the rules and laws of the legislature," Hayer said.

The document outlines a plan involving the premier's office, the multiculturalism ministry, the government caucus and the B.C. Liberal party.

The paper includes eight strategy components, including advice for "quick wins" gained by correcting historical wrongs. It also includes several references to tailoring government and Liberal news to the ethnic media, ensuring there is proper translation.

Use of taxpayer resources for political purposes is forbidden.

"In all my 12 years as an MLA I have always reached out to all communities, regardless of ethnic background, because that is the right thing to do," Hayer said.

"I believe in doing the right thing, regardless of whether it will, or will not, 'win the vote' of any particular group."

In an interview before Haakstad resigned, Hayer said the proposed policy -- which the Liberals have referred to as a draft -- was wrong.

"Nobody in their right mind would be telling anybody to do anything like this. I can tell you, all the MLAs I talked to think this is wrong. We think whoever did this should be held responsible."

As the fallout continued Friday, the Liberals were forced to explain that two of three riding association presidents who resigned recently quit their jobs well before the plan was leaked.

One person resigned last week and the other on Feb. 7, but a Liberal spokesman said it's unclear why the third riding president quit.

The B.C. government has promised to get to the bottom of whether public resources were used for political purposes, but the answers weren't coming as fast as the deputy premier suggested.

Deputy premier Rich Coleman read an apology from Clark in the legislature Thursday, saying the leaked strategy document appeared to cross the line.

Coleman said then he should know within 24 hours what went wrong and how, but on Friday, the premier's office issued only the terms of reference for the review.

They include a pledge to conduct interviews and review all documents related to the leaked strategy paper.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 2, 2013 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this week - December 8-12

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that former cabinet minister Theresa Oswald has entered the NDP leadership race, do you believe the "gang of five" rebel ministers were right to publicly criticize Premier Greg Selinger's leadership?

View Results

Ads by Google