EDITORIAL: A matter of honour
B.C. has a variety of ethnic communities – a fact which was not, apparently, lost on high-ranking aides to Premier Christy Clark, judging by a memo on planned public policy exchanged through their private email accounts and leaked to devastating effect last week by the NDP.
It’s unfortunate that Clark’s BC Liberal cohort seemed to view her province’s multicultural fabric merely as another resource to be harvested for votes.
It should come as no surprise that the BC Liberals are desperate to build a bridge across a growing credibility gap. What is surprising is how spectacularly they fail, yet again.
At the click of a send button, Clark’s advisors have sullied the entire notion of politicians paying tribute to our richly varied ethnic communities. The process is tarnished, probably in perpetuity.
To them, it seems, even government apologies for past wrongs are nothing more than “quick wins” in the political game.
The anger of people so insulted, so dishonoured, is not likely to evaporate any time soon. Nor should it. Now, any time a politician dons a robe or shawl or ceremonial hat, or embraces some other tradition at an event recognizing multicultural diversity, it will be seen instantly as a callous, self-serving act rather than an expression of genuine respect.
It’s too bad that, while targeting these communities and cultures for cynical vote-buying exercises, Clark’s people did not stumble on any of their basic tenets.
Most of us recognize that a core principle for most of the world’s cultures represented in Canada – regardless of ethnicity or country of origin – is the concept of ‘honour.’ Just as variations of the Golden Rule permeate so many world religions and philosophies, so, too, does a sense of honour, both personal and institutional.
That the notion has, evidently, failed to gain a foothold in the premier’s office must be viewed as the responsibility of the person in charge. No number of apologies and promises of investigation can distance her from a culture of political cynicism that did, apparently, take root there.
In her brief time at the helm of B.C.’s ship of state, we have seen the former open-line host do the opportunistic thing, the glib and expedient thing, the political thing.
It’s time she did the honourable thing.