For those of you whose blood pressure is just starting to decrease after hearing that former premier Gordon Campbell has been awarded the Order of B.C. … go get your meds.
This one comes courtesy of Mike Summers in Vanderhoof. Mike ran for the B.C. Refederation Party in the last election and is now seeking the NDP nomination in the Nechako Lakes riding.
News that Campbell has been awarded the Order of B.C. has irked Mike, along with most British Columbians not in the Liberal largesse loop. He smelled a rat so he did some investigating. He went to the website where is says nominees for the Order of B.C. “must not currently be an elected person with federal, provincial or municipal governments.” The website also states that the deadline for nominations was March 10, 2011.
A quick check of the dates shows that Campbell did not step down as MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey until March 15, 2011. Clearly, he was nominated to receive the Order of B.C. while he was still a sitting MLA and while his nominators can be excused, the Order of B.C. official cannot.
As Mike points out, they clearly accepted Campbell’s nomination while he was still in office. The right thing to do was to reject it because he was still in office. That didn’t happen. Or, did they know Campbell was about to resign? Did his nominators know he was about to resign?
Hannah Wright of the Omineca Express decided to find out. She was hit with a pane of government transparency thicker than the Berlin Wall.
She contacted the Government Communications and Public Engagement office and spoke to official who acquiesced to speak to the reporter on the condition that they not be quoted. Huh? It seems government communication and public engagement is a one-way street. At any rate, Hannah did get an explanation, of sorts.
In what I can only imagine was the snootiest of tones, she was told that the Order of B.C. officials are governed by the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act, not what is posted on the website.
The website, she was told by Deep Throat in the Government Communications and Public Engagement Office, was written in common language. No wonder why there’s a problem, we commoners don’t speak the same language as the folks in Victoria. But then the rationalization … er, explanation came.
Section 16 of the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act states anyone can be nominated and section 17 (2) states: “A person who is an elected federal, provincial or municipal representative is not eligible to be appointed a member of the Order while that person remains in office.”
Campbell wasn‘t officially appointed to the Order of B.C. until Sept. 2, well after he stepped down from office. There, nothing for us plebes to worry our dense little heads about. We may only converse in common language, but our noses work just fine. We know a rat when we smell one.
Bill Phillips is the editor of the Prince George Free Press.