Premier's long-time assistant quits
In a terse statement issued Friday afternoon, Premier Christy Clark announced that she has accepted the resignation of her long-time assistant, Kim Haakstad.
"Kim reached her decision after much consideration of her roles and responsibilities," Clark's statement says. "Consistent with circumstances of resignations, no severance payment applies."
Haakstad, Clark's deputy chief of staff, and "outreach" staff from the premier's office are subject to an internal investigation ordered by Clark Thursday. John Dyble, head of the public service, is to examine whether government communications resources were redirected to help deliver ethnic votes to the B.C. Liberal Party.
A 2012 draft strategy memo leaked to the NDP opposition discusses ways to improve the governing party's popularity with immigrant communities, including recruiting new members and spokespeople to call and write to ethnic media outlets. Clark issued an apology for the document, read in the legislature Thursday by Deputy Premier Rich Coleman.
"The document did not recognize there are lines that cannot be crossed in conducting this outreach [to ethnic communities] and it is unacceptable," the statement says. "The language in this draft document and some of the recommendations are absolutely inappropriate."
Coleman and Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap, minister responsible for multiculturalism, have indicated that an apology for the 19th-century Chinese head tax will be made in the legislature this month.
Such apologies are proposed in the strategy document as "quick wins" before the May 14 provincial election.