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Premier Glen Clark speaks with local fisherman Calvin Siider aboard his boat the Mailei III while local NDP MLA Glenn Robertson looks on. 1996 (Ian Smith/The Canadian Press/Ian Smith/The Canadian Press)
Premier Glen Clark speaks with local fisherman Calvin Siider aboard his boat the Mailei III while local NDP MLA Glenn Robertson looks on. 1996 (Ian Smith/The Canadian Press/Ian Smith/The Canadian Press)

This week in B.C. political history Add to ...

15 YEARS AGO (June 19-25, 1996)

Clark calls salmon talks a 'complete waste of time'

B.C. Premier Glen Clark lashed out at the federal government this week over Ottawa's plan to cut the Pacific salmon fishing fleet in half by 2001, saying the move will devastate coastal fishing communities.

In his debut First Ministers conference Friday, Mr. Clark slammed Ottawa for refusing to provide displaced fishers with adequate compensation and accused federal officials of "arrogance … intransigence, bureaucratic inertia and stupidity."

"It's a complete waste of time," Mr. Clark said. "They don't appear to want to work co-operatively so we're going to have to work in a more confrontational way."

This spring, Fisheries Minister Fred Mifflin announced an $80-million licence "buy back" program aimed at eliminating more than 2,000 of B.C.'s 4,400 commercial fishing licences.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien expressed surprise at Mr. Clark's outburst, noting the B.C. Premier "was very nice" during closed-door meetings earlier in the day.

Mr. Clark later admitted his comments may have burned some bridges in the nation's capital, but added that relations between Victoria and Ottawa were already at an all-time low.

Flash forward: In June, 1998, Fisheries Minister David Anderson announced a $400-million aid package for B.C.'s struggling fisheries, a move that Mr. Clark called "inadequate."

25 YEARS AGO (June 19-25, 1986)

Police sex tapes expose weak privacy laws

Police exploited a "gaping loophole" in Canada's privacy laws when they secretly videotaped sex scenes in a Victoria hotel room as part of a prostitution sting targeting a local escort agency, the head of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said Tuesday.

Speaking at a B.C. Police Commission hearing into the controversial case, John Russell called the extent of police surveillance of Canadian citizens a "national disgrace," saying that current laws are "subject to severe abuse."

Mr. Russell noted that Canada's Criminal Code provisions for electronic surveillance do not include silent video recordings, an oversight that give police the legal right to videotape people engaged in "private conduct."

Victoria police made audio and videotapes of couples engaged in sex acts last year, evidence that led to the conviction of Top Hat Escort Agency owner Arlie Blakely on prostitution-related charges.

The trial last December made national headlines due to the involvement of B.C. Industry Minister Bob McClelland, who was called to testify after a credit card slip bearing his name turned up among the evidence.

Flash forward: A B.C. Police Commission report released in January, 1987, urged the federal government to pass legislation limiting the use of police video-surveillance cameras.

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