An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
PREMIER CHRISTY CLARK brought new meaning to the term “political correctness” on Friday (Feb. 10, 2017) as she apologized to B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan for accusing the New Democrats of hacking the B.C. Liberals’ website.
Political correctness as in, politically smart. Correct also in the sense that she corrected a mistake she had committed against a political opponent.
It took her five days. As recently as Thursday she brushed off Horgan’s demand for an apology by saying she wasn’t sure why his feelings were hurt. Friday’s development came as a bit of a surprise, since apologizing to the other side is pretty much like chewing glass.
As it turned out, though, in the end she had little choice — it was just that she was the only one who didn’t seem to know it. Horgan’s indignation aside, the writing on the wall became crystal clear when Vancouver Province columnist Michael Smith wrote that he originally heard about problems with the Liberals’ website from Independent Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington, who told him one of her staff had discovered there was confidential information on the site that was sitting there without password protection.
That removed any possible doubt that the NDP hadn’t hacked the Liberals; in fact, it indicates there was no hacking done at all.
So, the evidence made it imperative that Clark apologize. The apology also happens to greatly soften what was going to be a rough ride in the Legislature when it resumes next week.
The situation was a dream come true for Horgan and his party. Questions of the “When will the premier apologize for her false accusations against the Opposition?” were pretty much writing themselves. And, they would have kept the story going for many more days and possibly weeks.
Now, about all Horgan can do is stand up and thank the premier for seeing the error of her ways.
Of course, it could be more than political smarts that motivated her to finally apologize — let us give the premier credit for genuinely seeing that it was the right thing to do.
After all, her apology was unequivocal. As she said, she made a mistake. “And I want to do as much as I can to make that right today to offer my apology to John, which I’ve done.”
Her mistake has hurt her party at a critical time, but could have hurt even more. Apologizing for it was the correct thing to do.