Premier’s meeting panned

Coun. Pat Cochrane is upset that only women were allowed to discuss issues with Christy Clark

Premier Christy Clark’s decision to bar men from a meeting has rankled a Coldstream official.

Coun. Pat Cochrane is upset that only women were allowed to discuss issues with Clark during a stop in Vernon Dec. 14.

“She’s alienated every male in the province,” he said during Monday’s council meeting.

“It’s too bad our premier wasn’t more inclusive. The whole thing is ridiculous.”

Coun. Maria Besso was among about 100 women selected to attend the luncheon with Clark.

“She explained why it was women’s only and it made sense,” Besso told her colleagues.

“She says she meets with a lot of men. Men are overly represented as leaders in communities.”

Concerns about not including men also came from Coun. Gyula Kiss and Mayor Jim Garlick, and a rather animated discussion between Cochrane and Besso ensued after the council meeting wrapped up.

“The premier has been invisible and when she comes to the Interior, she meets with women, it’s wrong,” Cochrane told Besso.

Beyond gender, another issue that has surfaced over the premier’s meeting was that the crowd may have not been broadly representative of women in the community.

The invitation list was developed by MLA Eric Foster’s office and some of those present were Liberal members.

“I have no idea of how the list was made up but it was a varied group that expressed opinions that were varied,” said Besso during an interview.

“She felt this was the audience she wanted to reach and that was OK.”

Coldstream officials are also concerned about some of the information Clark received while in the area.

Val Trevis, an office manager and former Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager, expressed frustration about Greater Vernon’s governance structure.

“We have the District of Coldstream, the regional district and the City of Vernon, and it’s squabble, squabble, back and forth. We can’t even decide where to put a track in the community,” she told Clark.

However, Coldstream officials point to a recent agreement with the other jurisdictions on water and parks, and the spring referendum on a sports complex.

“Everyone is very agreeable,” said Kiss.