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

Small team makes big splash at Chilliwack meet

Swimmers as young as six and under at weekend meet, next up is August provincials

‘An emporium’: Pennyroyalty Thrift

A tour of shops in Hope and Fraser Canyon giving old stuff a new lease on life

Retail sales of cannabis prohibited in Hope, for now

Councillors want more public feedback as provincial regulations are expected by October

It’s about to get hot: Special weather statement issued for Lower Mainland

Temperatures expected to rise and stick around till next week, Environment Canada forecasts

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

Most Read