EDITORIAL: Hogg should take a stand
Voters on the Semiahmoo Peninsula don’t need a program to tell Gordon Hogg from many of his BC Liberal colleagues.
While the party has been rocked by scandals, misjudgments and embarrassments, the Surrey-White Rock MLA has emerged relatively unscathed in his most recent term of office.
Indeed, he has maintained his reputation as a man of principle, and been one of the few members of the besieged caucus to raise serious concerns on behalf of his constituents rather than adhere rigidly to an apparent BC Liberal mantra of see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil (unless, of course, it involves pointing a finger at the NDP).
But distancing himself from the egregious acts of others cannot be seen as the same thing as taking a stand and earning the mandate he has received for the last 16 years.
In the case of the ethnic-vote scandal revolving around formerly high-placed aides to Premier Christy Clark, Hogg has endorsed recommendations of deputy minister John Dyble’s review aimed at enforcing a proper separation between partisan politics and government work. As caucus chair, Hogg conducted his own review into caucus staff’s role in developing the Draft Multicultural Strategic Plan to woo ethnic voters, and found, like Dyble, that lines were crossed by Clark’s then-deputy chief of staff and others.
Hogg has also, properly, expressed outrage at what he sees as a violation of the correct political process in creating a strategy that many consider a new low in cynical political opportunism.
But while Hogg has said he would welcome an independent review of his caucus’ activities – provided it include the NDP caucus, as well – he has stopped short of calling for one. Further, while Dyble’s report did not exonerate Clark from any involvement in the strategy (other than by her own account), Hogg has signalled his willingness to give the premier a pass on this sorry mess.
Voters – who’ve had ample opportunity to observe Clark’s conspicuously opportunistic, photo-op-driven politicking style, her propensity for surrounding herself with ham-fisted co-workers and her predisposition to duck responsibility – may be less generous.
As Clark seems to be doing the work of campaigners from other parties in ensuring her own political demise, maybe it’s time for Hogg to consider her a member of the Opposition – and publicly insist she adhere to a higher standard of political behaviour.