Chinese community outraged at Liberal 'ethnic vote' plan
South Asian community also insulted by plan
Members of Vancouver's Chinese community are calling the actions of the B.C. Liberal Party "immoral" after a leaked document revealed a wide-ranging plan to win ethnic votes in the upcoming provincial election.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark apologized on Thursday for the language used in the Liberals' "Multicultural Strategy" document, which outlines "quick wins" such as making apologies for historical wrongs.
But Bill Chu, chair of the Canadian Reconciliation Society, said the apology was "not acceptable."
"In the leaked document, you can see the wording in it, how they want to manipulate our community — not just our community, but the entire multicultural community," Chu said at a news conference Friday.
"It's full of disrespect."
The documents leaked by the NDP were originally sent from the email address of a senior official in the premier's office in January last year. They reveal a proposed outreach plan involving the premier's office, the Multiculturalism Ministry, the government caucus and the B.C. Liberal Party.
Clark said she didn't know who crafted the controversial document and said she has asked her deputy minister to conduct a review to ensure no government resources were inappropriately used.
But the Vancouver Province newspaper says it has evidence showing that Clark's deputy chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, offered advice and input during the drafting stages of the plan.
Provincial election in May
Meanwhile, some in B.C.'s South Asian community say they aren't impressed with the document either.
Harbhajan Gill, president of the Komagata Maru Heritage Society, is questioning the province's apology in the legislature in 2008.
"I'm questioning myself. I'm questioning the way it all happened," he said. "If I knew this was in the background I wouldn't have been part of it."
Surrey Liberal MLA Dave Hayer says he, and many who have phoned him, are insulted by the plan.
"I think the people involved in making this just to show respect for voters ... the jobs should be eliminated," he said. "They should be told, 'You're not capable of doing this job.' If we don't do this is won't send the right message."
Hayer adds the scandal does not look good for the B.C. Liberals right now, although the provincial election is still 80 days away.
"The election, it's very close right now," he said. "I have many people calling saying she [Clark] is doing a great job and some saying not. I think very soon the people will have a chance to say if she's doing a great job or not."
The next provincial election in British Columbia is on May 14, 2013.