Sylvia Slater: Christy Clark didn't put former MLA John Slater's family first

When is the political line crossed?

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      Sylvia Slater, sister of recently deceased former B.C. Liberal MLA John Slater, sent out the following statement on behalf of the Slater family:

      My name is Sylvia Slater and I, along with my family, are experiencing and bearing the realities associated with the loss of John Slater. To my family he was a brother, a father, an uncle, a nephew, and a son. To others, he was a friend and to many more he was a public figure and servant. But my question is, where is the line that deems one relationship more important than another and whose needs in a relationship should be first considered?

      Within two hours of learning of his passing, I became aware that there was a plan by government to announce his death in the House. As we were in the early throes of our grief, we were very uncomfortable with this announcement and we had not yet confirmed that all our family members had been contacted. To be proactive, at 11:44 am I phoned the local MLA office of Linda Larson, the very position that my brother previously held, and asked that the government announcement not occur. It was not the wishes of the family and we asked that our privacy be respected. I was told by the person with whom I spoke that she would oblige my request. At the very least we expected that surely government itself would contact us to verify when they could make an announcement.

      Heedlessly, however, at 1:32 pm, Ms. Clark made a statement in the House about John’s death and then released the statement to media across the province. John’s eldest daughter was first to become aware of the statement and to say she was upset would be an understatement.

      I recognize that John had been a public figure and had dedicated decades of his life to serving his town, his valley, and his province, but was it too much to ask for our family’s request to be respected? Could you have given us 24 hours, 12 hours, 6 hours? Could you have contacted a family member directly? We live in a small town where everyone knows how to get in touch with us. It turns out that one retired Liberal MLA, through a friend of the family, attempted to ascertain the family wishes regarding the public announcement but didn’t bother to wait for the answer.

      Why did this occur? Political gain? Through impersonal and public announcement, you were the one who decided when and how John Slater’s family and friends were notified of his untimely death. Shame on you Ms. Clark for again, not putting a ‘family first’.

      Sylvia Slater
      On behalf of John’s family.
      Osoyoos, BC




      May 15, 2015 at 11:10am

      I'm just curious. When is the earliest date Clark can get voted out?


      May 15, 2015 at 12:08pm

      So the Premier must have received the message, right? After all an office functionary in some rural riding must have her personal cell phone number. This could have been handled privately, with class & understanding but instead it is just another political piece. Kudos.


      May 15, 2015 at 12:14pm

      @J.M.T it's funny but in order for the Liberals to be defeated the NDP need to find a right wing alternative party that can draw away at least 10% in swing ridings. The Alberta NDP used this trick, as did the Harpo Cons, so if you want anyone besides the Liberals in office you need to create the conditions where the @40% that vote NDP can gain power. The BC NDP know their only hope is splitting the anti-NDP vote but they hate to admit that their "majority" governments were a sham like the Cons and the regimes of Trudeau the first and his successors.

      Bobbi Fox

      May 15, 2015 at 1:54pm

      What has not happened here is cognizance as to when the media released this story? This was at 1:10pm (Eastern 4:10pm) on Wednesday:

      I am terribly sorry for this families' loss - it is always difficult on a family at a time like this -but the news was out, it appears. I thought I heard it on the global noon news on Wednesday...

      Party politics is unfortunate

      May 15, 2015 at 4:25pm

      I'm confused as I also saw the NDP members announce this quite publicly in the BC Legislature around the same time as the Premier. The opinion editorial sounds quite partisan. If the aim is privacy I fail to see how a letter to the editor and public blogging achieves this for the family. Regardless, BC and all parties have honoured John for his public service. I hope his family celebrates those achievements and that his legacy doesn't get lost in the nasty partisan politics that is quite obviously taking place here.


      May 16, 2015 at 10:41am

      "Why did this occur? Political gain?"
      The political gain would be...what now?
      I can understand the government wanting to make the announcement in the Legislature for no other reason that since everyone else was reporting, they didn't want to appear heartless and disrespect, in NOT noting it in timely fashion?
      How dishonest...accusing someone of some 'moral' lapse without providing any tangible proof that anyone was actually harmed?
      It's like telling your employees "Hey It's against the law to steal"...and then getting pissed off if your employees think you just accused them of stealing. If you going to make an accusation, put up proof and make it in the positive...not some backhanded reference to some 'context' that you're pretty sure someone is violating but can't really find proof of a violation.


      May 16, 2015 at 6:05pm

      That was very selfish of Clark.


      May 16, 2015 at 8:17pm

      She ignored the request because she doesn't give a crap for anyone but herself. On top
      of that, she is not credible. She has proven many times over that she cannot be trusted.
      In my opinion, she is nothing short of a liar, plain and simple.


      May 17, 2015 at 2:51pm

      Some people have a need to show that they know more than others might on any given day. It is a flaw in their personality. If the Premier was concerned, she could have called someone in the Slater family and offered her condolences privately and conferred how to make any announcement or comment to the media.. She did it in a way that was disrespectful of the family's need for privacy for a few days.


      May 17, 2015 at 3:32pm

      So the family made a call to a MLA's office and then the premier made an announcement LESS THAN TWO HOURS LATER. There is nothing that says the premier even knew of the request of the family. And as one poster says above, apparently the news was already being reported by the media. My sincere sympathies to the family for their loss, but they should not use the death of Mr. Slater as an excuse to bash the premier no matter how much they dislike her.