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BC Premier Clark to replace throne speech with radio appearance

With no throne speech scheduled, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark will instead make a 90-minute appearance on the Vancouver radio station where she used to work.

"In place of a formal Throne Speech, the Premier will be appearing on CKNW’s Bill Good Show to outline the government’s agenda for the spring session," said an email to press gallery members from Clark's deputy press secretary and communications officer Rebecca Scott.

The premier will give a scrum to other media who are welcome to watch the interview at the CKNW studio, the message said. The appearance is scheduled for 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. on Feb. 13. The spring session of the legislature will open Feb. 14.

Reporters were quick to pan the decision on Twitter. The Victoria Times Colonist's Rob Shaw, wrote, "It is ridiculous the premier chooses one media outlet to deliver her entire spring agenda. How about a press conference? What a joke."

Jonathan Fowlie at the Vancouver Sun asked, "Wondering, does Premier Clark's CKNW pseudo throne speech make Bill Good the next Lieutenant-governor?"

And the T-C's Lindsay Kines joked, "Christy Clark appoints NW crime reporters to probe justice system and report back after the 1 o'clock weather."

The lieutenant governor, currently Steven Point, usually delivers a speech on behalf of the government each February giving an overview of what it is planning to do. During the fall, government house leader Rich Coleman said a 2012 throne speech was likely unnecessary since there had been one in October and the legislature was not prorogued at the end of the fall session.

Clark hosted a call in show on CKNW before returning to politics in 2010 to seek the leadership of the BC Liberal party and become premier. Scott, who wrote the email, was herself a producer at CKNW before joining Clark's staff in 2011. She was recently in the news when CBC ombudsman Kirk LaPointe found her marriage to CBC legislative reporter Stephen Smart put the reporter in a conflict.

Smart, by the way, was among the skeptical tweeters: "'In place of throne speech Christy Clark will appear on CKNW's Bill Good show on Mon.' That seem odd to anyone else?"

"From a communications standpoint this is ridiculous," said Sean Holman, a journalism instructor at the University of Victoria who has worked both as a legislative reporter and in government communications. "You'd think those who've been chosen to staff the premier's office would know better than to position this event in the way they have."

The Tyee sent Scott questions asking who had made the decision and why, but did not receive a response by posting time.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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