VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark says she wants to ensure innocent people involved in the inappropriate incident that led to the departure of her chief adviser are not hurt.
Clark said Tuesday that she can’t elaborate on the details of what happened in Victoria earlier this month that led Ken Boessenkool to suddenly resign.
But she said she doesn’t want to see people who did nothing wrong undergo an invasion of their privacy.
“I certainly hope that in the course of this public dialogue that we are now having that people who have done nothing wrong are not hurt,” she told reporters during a news conference in her office.
Clark had been scheduled to participate in an Education Ministry announcement at the legislature, but it was postponed so she could speak about the incident involving her chief aide.
“Let me start with this: There’s probably only one topic that most of you are interested in discussing,” she said. “I’ll say this, I don’t have a lot to add … because I am bound by the laws of privacy that apply to every employer in this province.”
Clark refused to discuss particular about the incident or shed light on the people involved, other than Boessenkool.
“That has really been my mission in trying to bring this to a conclusion,” she said. “I think people who have done nothing wrong, people who are innocent, shouldn’t be hurt. I think we all bear that responsibility.”
Boessenkool’s public letter of resignation to the premier said he let down his family, leading to rampant speculation about the nature of his transgression.
Clark defended her decision to conduct a two-week investigation into the incident rather than suspend or fire Boessenkool immediately.
“We went out to get all the facts that we could gather,” said Clark, adding she had a number of conversations with Boessenkool about the investigation as it progressed.
“Everything that was done was absolutely to the letter required by government,” she said.
Boessenkool came to British Columbia from Alberta earlier this year with highly regarded credentials as an exceptional Conservative strategist who provided advice to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
He was drafted by Clark to build up her Liberal party’s Conservative flank, which was facing a challenge from the B.C. Conservatives led by former federal Tory MP John Cummins.
Clark, an ardent Liberal, wanted to reassure Conservative-minded voters she understood their needs, which convinced her to reach out to Boessenkool.
She said Boessenkool’s departure doesn’t change her job as Liberal leader, which she views as maintaining the coalition of B.C.’s free-enterprise voters.
“The task that I have is to reach out to all of them. That’s always been my task,” Clark said.
She appointed veteran bureaucrat Dan Doyle to replace Boessenkool as her new chief of staff.
Doyle, a recipient of the Order of B.C., has had a long career working in government, including a four-year stint as a deputy minister. He worked with the organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and has been chairman of the BC Hydro board.
Boessenkool could not be reached for comment.