Why all the fuss about Boessenkool?
Because it matters.
Last September, after a Liberal fundraiser, Ken Boessenkool – the Chief of Staff to the Premier – groped an assistant to a cabinet minister. A month or so later Boessenkool resigned.
That much we can agree upon. The rest is shady.
According to Premier Clark, Lynda Tarras – the CEO of the BC Public Service Agency – conducted a two week investigation into the allegations, finding Boessenkool in the wrong. Clark then fired Boessenkool.
Case closed, or not.
Both Bob Mackin and Jonathan Fowlie used FOI to obtain records of the investigation. Turns out there aren’t any. The entire investigation was conducted orally. “Consistent with PSA policies,” Finance ministry staff told the Sun with perhaps some bending of the truth.
Mackin went a little further and sought Boessenkool’s diary for the period. Turns out he didn’t even meet with Tarras, which went unexplained by the government.
There are two possible explanations for all of this. The first is the Dobell doctrine.
Bob MacKin and my friend over at the Pacific Gazetteer have argued persuasively for this version of events. The Doctine basically states that you write down nothing you don’t wish to see in print. No notes, diary entries, memos, reports, emails. Nothing. You scrub it all clean – who cares about rules and procedures.
Following the Doctrine, the Boessenkool inquiry was conducted orally with no trace to be seen by inquiring minds.
That’s one theory. I don’t buy it. Here’s mine: There was no inquiry.
Here’s what I think happened. Boessenkool groped the woman. A complaint was made and that’s all that happened until a reporter for Global News got wind of the story and called the Premier’s office about it.
The Premier’s office went into damage control. They knew they couldn’t contain the story. Too many reporters knew about the assault.
So they dumped Boessenkool. But they needed a story to deal with the month that passed between the complaint and the firing. Hence the “investigation.”
Of course there are no records. What records would there be of an investigation that never took place.
One of these two stories is the truth about the Boessenkool firing. Both are bad.
One says the Premier and her staff are will hide the truth when it doesn’t serve their purpose. The other says the Premier will lie when that will serve her purpose.
Both explanations say the Premier and her staff can’t be trusted to do the public’s business openly and honestly.