B.C. LIBERAL LEADERS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEIR TREATMENT OF SLATER OVER PAST SEVERAL WEEKS
Last week in this same space, we called the B.C. Liberal Party’s treatment of Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater “shady and shabby” after the veteran politician confirmed the party had not scheduled a local nomination meeting and had approached former Town of Oliver mayor Linda Larson to see if she might be interested in running in the upcoming May provincial election.
A week later, it’s clear those adjectives don’t come close to describing the treatment by party leaders towards Slater over the past couple of weeks and months.
Abhorrent, disgusting, amateurish, disrespectful and childish are more appropriate adjectives following what has taken place.
On Monday, Slater announced his resignation from the B.C. Liberals and that he would sit as an independent MLA in Victoria for the remainder of the current term heading into May’s provincial election.
An hour or so after Slater announced his resignation Monday, party leader Sharon White issued a vaguely-worded email that stated, “Mr. Slater’s candidacy is not being approved due to personal issues that, in our view, impact his ability to represent the party.
“The party sought a co-operative solution through discussions with John. This is not a decision taken lightly and is fully considered.”
To issue a public statement claiming Slater has “personal issues” that are so serious the party could no longer have him represent it and not give any other details is simply reprehensible.
The statement not only instantly tarnishes Slater’s image and reputation, but was designed to get tongues wagging and rumours swirling unnecessarily by party supporters and observers across the province.
If the party leaders didn’t like Slater’s record, thought he spoke out too much in caucus or weren’t enamoured with his lifestyle off the job, they could have taken the time to discuss this with him privately.
If they didn’t think Slater had any chance of winning the next election, then they had the right to notify him of their concerns and again address it privately and professionally.
But to let Slater dance in the wind wondering about his future with less than four months to election day and then issue a vague and insulting statement like this is unprofessional, appalling and embarrassing.
Anyone who follows B.C. politics could see the writing on the wall about the party’s intentions after it was revealed last week leadership had approached Larson to see if she would be interested in representing the party in the election.
At the end of the day, there are about a million ways the B.C. Liberals could have handled this situation better than they have. Instead of quietly conducting their business in a professional manner, they opted to go behind Slater’s back without informing him and forced him into having no other alternative but to resign from the party.
To add injury to insult, they engage in a smear campaign suggesting Slater has personal issues that prevent him from being a solid representative for the party.
Like most brash politicians, Slater may not be everyone’s proverbial cup of tea.
But he’s been an extremely loyal and hard-working politician for the people of Osoyoos as a town councillor, mayor and MLA for more than two decades and he certainly doesn’t deserve the treatment he has received from the party he was such a proud member of for many years.
The B.C. Liberals should be ashamed of themselves.