EDITORIAL – Clark showed surprising lack of judgment on hacking issue

Premier Christy Clark.(BC Govt photo)
Premier Christy Clark.(BC Govt photo)

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IT DOESN’T quiet add up to the Kinder Morgan surprise that dashed the hopes of the NDP in the last provincial election, but Premier Christy Clark is on a bit of a roll.

Just a couple of weeks ago there was the controversy over Clark’s $50,000 “top-up” stipend from the B.C. Liberals, which she finally decided to forego because it had become, in her words, a “distraction.”

Now, there’s her accusation that the New Democrats were responsible for hacking the Liberal party’s website. After a couple of days on the hot seat, she backed off, but not before NDP leader John Horgan was able to make hay out of it with a threat to sue her if she didn’t recant.

While Clark didn’t go so far as to use the “apology” word, she told CHNL’s Jim Harrison Thursday “I jumped to conclusions too quickly.”

Even then, she couldn’t bring herself to leave it at that, adding that others had jumped to the same conclusion. “I did draw a quick conclusion I think that many others would, based on the circumstances.”

The circumstances were that an IP address from which the alleged hacking was conducted was traced by the Liberals to a computer somewhere in the Legislative buildings. It has been pointed out to the premier that a janitor could have done it, for all anybody knows.

Here’s the problem with this. The premier has made a serious accusation against the NDP that constitutes a legal offence, without anything to back it up.

Even now, she says, “I guess people can draw their own conclusions about who in the B.C. Legislature might want to hack the BC Liberal website and distribute the information that they received from it.”

She tries to brush off her surprising lack of judgment on the issue by saying “I don’t want to get distracted by all the horse-race, inside-baseball politics that you guys like to talk about.”

There’s that “distraction” word again, which is a favourite of politicians trying to get past a controversy of their own making. In the interview with Harrison, she attempted to move the conversation to jobs and the economy and the campaign, and make light of her shoot-from-the-hip charge against the NDP as not worth talking about.

But it is worth talking about. The Jim Harrison Show interview is worth listening to on podcast if you didn’t catch it live. To Harrison’s credit, he didn’t let her off the hook easily.

Our leaders are supposed to demonstrate thoughtful judgment on such things. Usually, she has a good feel for what’s going to fly and what’s not. Clark should have waited for the results of an investigation instead of taking the opportunity to slam her opponent.

Question Period is going to get more and more interesting.

mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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