To the Leadership Election Organizing Committee & Executive of the BC Liberal Party,
I’m focused on restoring trust in our BC Liberal Party and we can’t do that until we ensure our party is a safer, more respectful, and inclusive environment for everyone. I’m writing to present a constructive solution to help us solve this challenge.
As you are aware, there has been information shared regarding misconduct by members of the Kevin Falcon Leadership Campaign, including sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour towards my campaign manager. She and our team tried to resolve these matters privately, but after the issue remained unaddressed by the other team, she chose to make the info public to urge accountability. This is part of a pattern of behaviour, by at least a few members within our party, an issue which also affects many other political parties in BC and Canada.
Our BC Liberal Party has no Code of Conduct or other guiding documents to address misbehaviour within our party; this absence of a Code of Conduct preserves a culture free of consequences.
The Michael Lee Leadership Campaign has our own Code of Conduct to offer guiding principles about how my team would address concerns about racism, sexism, homophobia, or other types of intolerance, if/when they arise. And even more importantly, I’ve worked hard to set expectations with my team about mutual respect. The tone for our leadership campaigns, and our party, comes from the top. We can put forward differing perspectives on policy issues - as I will continue to do in this leadership race - and have hearty debates, but there can be no place for hostile or harmful actions.
I’ve heard other concerns in recent months about conduct (complaints which I will leave to the affected individuals to share their own personal stories about, privately or publicly, in a manner they are comfortable with) and our party has faced other challenges with behaviour in recent years. All major federal parties, including the Conservative Party of Canada and Liberal Party of Canada, have developed their own conduct-related policies.
I urge the BC Liberal Party to immediately implement a Code of Conduct that ensures the respectful behaviour of everyone involved in our rebuilding process. I also request that the party appoints a Complaints Officer, and empowers that individual with the resources they need to act as a confidential, respectful, and trusted liaison who will treat individuals with the dignity they deserve, independent from any influence from our leadership campaigns.
Thank you for your continued volunteer service on the Leadership Election Organizing Committee; I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.