Premier's deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad resigns—and we can understand why
Call it the political blunder of the year.
The B.C. Liberals craft a clumsy and somewhat vicious plan to woo nonwhite voters relying on government funds to help the party—and somehow, it gets leaked to the NDP.
It shouldn't come as a big surprise that the premier's deputy chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, has resigned.
She's the one who emailed a copy of the now-disgraced "Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan" to fellow B.C. Liberal hacks Brian Bonney, Lorne Mayencourt, Pamela Martin, and others.
The document makes for amusing reading.
Martin, a former TV news anchor, and former MLA Mayencourt were tapped to lead efforts for better outreach to faith groups.
The premier's outreach coordinator, Barinder Bhullar, MLA Richard Lee, and political aide Fiera Lo were supposed to oversee "quick wins"—"i.e., Komagata Maru apology in the House".
In 2008, the legislature issued a unanimous apology for the federal government's decision not to allow more than 350 passengers to disembark from the vessel in Vancouver's harbour in 1914.
Meanwhile, Lo and B.C. Liberal caucus research director Blair Phelps were tasked with "building a running dossier" on every nominated candidate and with identifying the NDP's "historical failures" in addressing multicultural issues.
The document cited one of the B.C. Liberals' weaknesses as having only one MLA, Lee, who is fluent in a target language other than English: "[Surrey-Tynehead Liberal MLA] Dave Hayer apparently speaks some Punjabi," it adds.
In fact, Hayer speaks Punjabi fluently, according to Radio India Punjabi-language talk-show host Gurpreet Singh.
"He's been on my show many times," Singh told the Straight.
The B.C. Liberals also appear somewhat miffed that the NDP has Gabriel Yiu available to speak to the media in Chinese languages, "and it's rare that government was able to provide someone to counter the claims".
According to the 2011 census, there are about 330,000 British Columbians whose first language is a Chinese dialect.
And the B.C. Liberal government wasn't able to hire any of them to go on radio to respond to Yiu?
No wonder the governing party is in such trouble with the voters.
Things have gotten so bad that Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail is claiming that backbenchers are talking about dumping Clark as leader.
"The name of onetime Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott has been bandied around as someone who the caucus might agree to rally around as a replacement for Ms. Clark," Mason wrote today.
In Britain, the caucus can vote out the leader. In Canada, however, it's ultimately up to party members unless the leader chooses to walk the plank.
Clark is a single mother with no obvious job prospects should she get slaughtered in the next election.
So it seems unlikely that she will quit when there's an opportunity to haul in a couple more months of relatively good pay.
Besides, Abbott has already announced that he won't seek reelection.