Premier Christy Clark is defending her government’s actions in the wake of a scathing report into the 2012 health firing scandal.
Thursday’s report from Ombdusperson Jay Chalke found eight government employees were wrongly fired, suffering both personally and professionally, and that the government misled the public into believing a non-existent RCMP investigation was underway.
One of those employees, Roderick MacIsaac, later took his own life.
Friday, asked if she felt personal responsibility for the incident, Clark repeated the government’s apology but laid responsibility for the affair ultimately in the hands of the public service.
“My responsibility is to make sure that the civil service is working well, we want to be a great employer. The day-to-day decisions about who gets hired and who fired though was made very clear by the ombudsman though. Politicians can not, must not, should not be involved in those decisions,” Clark told reporters.
Clark said making restitution for the firings is now in the hands of Kim Henderson, head of the civil service, who is creating a reparations fund for the fired workers and working with a Supreme Court Judge to oversee the implementation of recommendations.
Asked why she didn’t ask more questions about the botched firings while the incident was unfolding, Clark said she did look into it, but didn’t get the right information.
“As I’ve said before the assurances that we all received were that these were absolutely justified and the right thing to do.”
Clark was also asked about a demand by Linda Kayfish, MacIsaac’s sister, for a personal apology.
In a statement issued yesterday, Kayfish wrote she wants Clark to look her in the eyes and take personal responsibility.
“I would say government has apologized,” Clark said. “And it’s an absolutely sincere expression of regret.”
Chalke found the government took too long to issue an apology to the seven surviving victims of the scandal.
With files from Jeremy Lye