This is more spin from friends of BC Liberals. James admits that MacIsaac — the person most deserving of sympathy — was a scapegoated victim but only refers to the other fired individuals as low hanging fruit. She reiterates accusations about “conflicts of interest, contracting, privacy breaches, data handling and financial matters involving ministry health research and contracting.”
MacIsaac is the only person absolved by James and she wants the net cast even more widely, perhaps into the middle branches. She does not imply misconduct at the highest levels of the Christy Clark government.
Here is the real crux of the message in the Vancouver Sun:
James also rejected speculation that the firings were related to research about specific drugs, funding for the Therapeutics Initiatives drug evaluation group or the influence of big pharmaceutical companies on the B.C. Liberal party, calling those discussions “a red herring.”
This article may indicate the exit strategy Liberals hope to use.
They need to protect the Premier, the party managers and the business of their corporate sponsors. They can’t admit this heartless effort to end independent drug research was designed by people who sit closely to the Premier. Instead, they’ll leak information that, indeed, serious offences had occurred but crimes by researchers could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, “It’s not that they were innocent, just that they couldn’t be proven guilty.”
However, the need to contain political damage and assign some degree of managerial blame still exists. John Dyble and Christy Clark need a mid-level functionary to resign while admitting he or she could have done more to ensure a successful investigation. Public Service Agency head Lynda Tarras retired and former Deputy Minister Graham Whitmarsh lawyered up and refused to be a fall guy. Current Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown is loyal and was elsewhere when the situation began. The search is for someone who will exchange a little discomfort for a half-million severance and a friendly recommendation or early pension. It’s been done before.
In a case of life emulating art, I’m reminded of an episode of the TV series VEEP, from season 4. Show notes:
“The staff is caught in the middle of a large scandal and starts looking for someone to take the blame… Dan finds new work after being fired from the White House…”
Now who on that very long list of Christy Clark’s political appointees is ready to move on?