LAST week, Premier Christy Clark appeared to directly contradict the sworn testimony given to Ombudsperson Jay Chalke regarding how much she knew about the health firings, the NDP said on Monday.
As part of Chalke’s report, Clark was interviewed under oath. Chalke wrote: “Premier Clark did not recall ever being briefed about the decision to terminate the employees.” (page 157)
On Friday, Christy Clark said: “Well I did ask a lot of questions at the time… the assurances that we all received were that these were absolutely justified and the right thing to do.”
Adrian Dix on Monday sent a letter to Chalke requesting that Clark be interviewed again to establish her level of knowledge of these decisions and to determine which of her statements is accurate.
BC Ombudsperson Jay Chalke
947 Fort Street – 2nd floor
Victoria, B.C. Canada V8V 3K3
April 10, 2017
Dear Mr. Chalke,
I am writing with respect to recent comments made by Premier Christy Clark regarding her knowledge of government’s decision to wrongly dismiss eight health researchers.
On page 15 of your report, you indicate that you interviewed Premier Clark and former Deputy Minister to the Premier John Dyble under oath. The record of those interviews is mentioned in two specific passages in your report.
On page 134 of the report, you write that Mr. Dyble briefed Premier Clark on the issue prior to the terminations, but did not provide a high level of detail. He recalled the discussion as follows:
“I mentioned that we had a data breach to the Premier and that there was an investigation going on-and that is the level I would have dealt with the Premier on it. Because there was a potential human resources role in here-I would have kept her away from it… Most of what I would have told her about was the data breach ‘cause that’s where the politics went in.”
And on page 157 of the report you write: “Premier Clark did not recall ever being briefed about the decision to terminate the employees.”
However, during media interviews conducted in the afternoon of April 7, 2017, (and subsequently published in media outlets including an article written by Matt Kieltyka, published in Metro on April 7, 2017 under the headline “Health Firings Blame Rests With Public Service: Premier Christy Clark”), Premier Clark was asked: “ Do you feel like you have any responsibility? Should you have asked more questions at the time?”
Premier Clark responded: “Well I did ask a lot of questions at the time… the assurances that we all received were that these were absolutely justified and the right thing to do.”
Premier Clark’s comments appear to contradict the testimony she provided to you under oath, as published in your report.
In my view, the nature of the conversations the Premier had at the time of these events is fundamental to determining her level of involvement. The Premier’s apparent contradiction calls her lack of recollection in her interviews with you into question.
I request that you consider conducting a second interview with Premier Clark to establish her level of knowledge and recollection of these decisions and to determine which of her statements is accurate.
The letter can be found here: