Former Energy Minister, Bill Bennett, didn’t need to wait too long for response on his accusations that outgoing Premier Campbell is bully. Several voices from the past and present political life in the BC spoke out on Thursday and denied all Bennett’s accusations. The most interesting statement made by Bennett on Wednesday was one which claims that several female Cabinet ministers leaved Campbell’s team because they were bullied.
Campbell’s Deputy and CKNW host, Christy Clark (@christyclarkbc), in an interview to the Global BC TV said that Bennett’s accusations are not truth, and that Bennett is wrong if he thinks that she was bullied. Other two women mentioned by Bennett, Olga Illich and Carol Taylor, were unable for comments yesterday.
“Bill Bennett presents he’s version of truth, what he believes is the truth, but that was not my experience. He [Gordon Campbell] was super-super tuff boss, sometimes with quick temper”, said Clark.
Also previous Energy Minister, who quit his job over HST dispute, Blair Lekstrom told to journalists yesterday that he never had any problems with Campbell. He also said that Campbell was always open for discussion, if he [Lekstrom] was in a problem he could go and talk to the Premier. Former cabinet Minister Greg Helsey-Brandt described Campbell as person with strong point of view but in his opinion that was not bullying.
Premier himself told that he’s unable to respond on Bennett’s accusations so easily. He even go further and said that former Minister made up all those stories mentioned in his statements on Wednesday. Just for recollection let’s repeat that Bennett accused Premier for spitting in his face, creating “battered-wife syndrome” among Cabinet ministers and being a bully.
“It’s too bad. I think it doesn’t help anyone in public life when we heard that kind of stories coming from someone. They are simply not a true. You don’t get to be Party leader for 17 years, and caucuses leader by being a bully”, said Campbell in his response to Bennett.
Bennett remains confident in his statements and observations about Premier Campbell telling to the media that he get a lot of support messages from all parts of the province. In last 24 hours since he made his comments several BC Liberal insiders said that accuracy of Bennett’s stories is highly questionable and doubtful, beside a fact that Bennett is not a first BC Liberal who accused Campbell for bullying. Political commentator Michael Geoghegan (@bclobbyist) said in an interview that first bullying accusations against Campbell were made in his first mandate in 2001.
Dispute and heated atmosphere over Bennett statements made general BC Liberal situation much harder and much tougher in expectation of first leadership announcements. Geoghegan said that he agrees with Bennett’s earlier call to the Premier to appoint interim Premier and to leave soon as possible. In his opinion there are a lot of good candidates in current cabinet who can replace Campbell, and some of them are Colin Hansen and Shirley Bond.
None of widely mentioned possible candidates didn’t step out and announce his/her intention to run for premier/leadership but is expected that first candidates will do that really soon. Even if she’s mentioned widely and has a public support Christy Clark once more said that she’s happy at CKNW and doesn’t have intention to run.