Politics in the B.C. Legislature have become toxic. That has been perhaps Christy Clark's most astute observation since becoming premier at her party's behest a year and a half ago.
But it's long past time Premier Clark took that observation one step further, and tried to search out the source of the toxicity that has been putrefying the legislative environment in Victoria. We're pretty sure she would find it close to home.
An in-depth report in Sunday's Province newspaper details the source of only one of the toxic spills that have been fouling B.C.'s democratic process. It turns out one of the BC Liberals' own special versions of political toxicity, an attack website aimed at NDP leader Adrian Dix, has been funded at least in part from provincial coffers, which makes it a particularly smelly brand of toxicity. Of course, Premier Clark might not approve - at least, no specific approval has been traced back to her.
The taxpayer-payrolled people involved earned a verbal warning, and that's it. In what appears to have become standard political protocol in B.C. - and federally, too - there have been no serious repercussions for a serious breach of the public trust. The cantafforddix.ca website scandal is just a natural extension of tax-funded advertising whose clear aim is really to promote the governing party.
The sad fact is that this sort of manipulation of democratic principles has become so ubiquitous the general public expects the same sort of behaviour after the provincial election in May - regardless of whether or not the anti-Dix toxicity is successful in changing the currently anticipated outcome.
And Premier Clark's edict shutting down that "toxic" legislature in Victoria for nearly a year means pertinent questions won't be asked, and that only makes it all the more difficult to clean up the spill.