Liberals have lots to answer for

Bloy’s resignation over leaked email
doesn’t get to bottom of why
and how it happened

Michael Smyth, Vancouver Province, March 16, 2012


Premier Christy Clark has, so far, declined to clear up how a Province email
sent to the minister of advanced education about for-profit schools run by
Eminata — a Liberal Party supporter — ended up on the desk of the
company’s president. Photo: Victoria Times Colonist Files.


Minister of Advanced Education Naomi Yamamoto hasn’t yet
explained how an email from a Province reporter ended up in the hands
of cabinet colleague Harry Bloy. Photo: Jenelle Schneider, PNG Files.


Harry Bloy


Harry Bloy’s disastrous year as a cabinet minister entered its final doomed weeks on Feb. 22, the day my colleague Cassidy Olivier visited the corporate headquarters of the Eminata private-school conglomerate.

The Province investigative reporter was there to interview the executives of the company about a rash of student complaints concerning their string of private colleges.

At the end of the interview, Eminata president Randy Cox boldly held up a printout of an email Olivier had sent earlier to the Ministry of Advanced Education.

The email contained the reporter’s questions about Eminata, and how it’s regulated by the Liberal government.

Cox wanted to let the reporter know that his company was well aware of his journalistic sleuthing in the halls of power. Stunned to see his own email in the possession of the very target of his investigation, Oliver asked Cox where he got it.

“People care about what we do,” came the astonishing answer.

A bad move by him. Because now Olivier had a new story to pursue, and he began digging into how his professional inquiries to the government had been leaked to a private corporation with Liberal ties.

More than four weeks later the truth emerges: Bloy somehow received a copy of the email and leaked it to Eminata, in an apparent effort to tip them off about The Province reporter’s investigation.

This is shameful conduct by a minister of the Crown, who was sworn to uphold the public interest.

But when this newspaper started asking questions on the public’s behalf, Bloy’s first instinct was to protect a private company, whose founder gave money to the Liberal Party.

Bloy’s resignation from Premier Christy Clark’s cabinet is appropriate, but the government is still hiding the full truth about this episode.

Bloy himself has refused to answer any questions. He didn’t show up at the legislature on Thursday, and skipped a government caucus meeting.

Bloy should come fully clean about what he did.

If his plan is to duck and dodge the media, and avoid any accountability at the legislature, he should also resign his seat as the Liberal MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed.

Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto also has a lot of explaining to do.

The email was sent to her staff, yet she refuses to fully explain how it ended up in the hands of her cabinet colleague.

Yamamoto said her ministerial assistant gave the email to Bloy. Why? Who approved that? Who knew about the leak to Eminata? Has the assistant been fired?

Yamamoto must come clean — or follow Bloy out the door. If she refuses to answer these questions, she should also resign.

And then there is Clark herself, who took a very arrogant approach to this episode in Question Period on Thursday. She also declined to answer key questions about the leak.

But the leak was made to a company with Liberal ties. Its founder, Peter Chung, is a frequent Liberal Party donor and, according to court documents, a Clark supporter.

Clark has promised to run an open, transparent, squeaky-clean government. She should answer every question or else she risks looking like she’s covering up for political friends.

The episode also raises questions about Clark’s judgment in appointing Bloy to her cabinet in the first place.

The only Liberal MLA to support her bid for party leader, Bloy was a disaster in an earlier role as minister of social development. He should have been banished from the front benches completely after his earlier face-plants.

But it’s too late for that. Now it’s just time for the truth, and for the government to answer all the questions.

Harry Bloy is very stupid, very dishonest and very typical of the MLAs
who serve B.C.’s police status quo. To read more about hapless Harry Bloy’s
blundering and the unelected sociopath who controls him, click here.
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