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

Seven years later, what’s changed since the 2011 Malahat fuel truck crash and closure?

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic Friday morning after roughly 13-hour closure

Two people injured in crash on Malahat

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic early Friday morning

Malahat closure snarls traffic

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic early Friday morning

Victoria heroes rappel 15 storeys for the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Over $60,000 raised at city’s first Rope for Hope event

Victoria man claims he was racially profiled at local health food store

Loss prevention officer employed by third party company refused customer entry to store

VIDEO: Campers leave big mess at rural Port Renfrew campsite

Vehicle parts, garbage, a mattress, lawn chairs, beer cans, and even fecal matter left in the area

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Looming tax changes could bring pay hike for Saanich councillors

Will Saanich council raise remuneration rates? That is one of the looming… Continue reading

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

Ben Makuch challenges Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that he must give materials for stories to RCMP

Most Read