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News

In Emails to Clark, Liberal Supporters Vented Yoga Bridge Rage

'Always thought you were great, but have you lost it?'

By Bob Mackin 5 Aug 2015 | TheTyee.ca

North Vancouver-based journalist Bob Mackin, a regular contributor to The Tyee, has reported for local, regional, national and international media outlets since 1990. Find his Tyee articles here.

Foes of Premier Christy Clark's plan to close the Burrard Bridge for a mass yoga class on June 21 didn't restrict their outrage to Twitter and radio talk shows.

The $150,000 International Day of Yoga festivity was announced June 5 and cancelled just a week later, after a public backlash. The main sponsors pulled out and Clark pulled the plug, saying the focus of the event had "drifted towards politics."

Emails sent by opponents to the Office of the Premier, released after a Freedom of Information request, showed some citizens didn't like the sponsors -- LNG plant applicant AltaGas and yoga wear retailer Lululemon -- and others cited Clark's half-hearted apology for the health ministry researcher firings and non-existent RCMP investigation.

Several correspondents said it was wrong to upstage the 20th annual National Aboriginal Day, in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report.

"Straighten up your act Christy Clark and do the right thing by leaving the bridge open to traffic," wrote one person on June 8 (the government censored the senders' names, saying they're protected by privacy laws). "Where do you come up with your ideas anyway? You must be friends with the mayor!"

"Few people can alienate Raffi and you have managed to do that," wrote another on June 8, mentioning the children's entertainer who tweeted against the event. "This should at least give pause."

Surprisingly, some of the emails in the 82-page FOI release came from people who said they were inside or just outside the BC Liberal Party tent -- indicating the event had indeed "drifted towards politics," but perhaps not in the way Clark intended.

Below, a few samples:

June 5: "Always thought you were great, but have you lost it?"

June 8: "I am a member of BCLP and a supporter... I have never criticized or commented on events or policies, but I have to today. Closing the Burrard Bridge to have a yoga session on Father's Day is absurd."

June 8: "I used to be a party member but I refuse to rejoin because of BS like this."

June 9: "I must say I've always been a supporter of yours and voted for you in the election you lost the seat to David Eby. You have impressed me in the past and I've supported your agenda on natural resource use, the teachers strike, the new transportation tax and native affairs. Having said that it was extremely disappointing to read in this morning's paper of your plan to close the Burrard Bridge on Father's Day this year for a yoga festival. I have zero support for this idea.

"I hope that you will see the errors in your decision and change your mind and I can continue to be your supporter. If not, I will have to reconsider my voting options."

June 9: "I have been a long time supporter of the BC Liberals for years but will seriously consider putting my vote elsewhere in the next election. Leave these stunts up to Vision Vancouver."

June 9: "Please think about resigning for the good of the party, I will not help you get re-elected."

June 9: "Premier as members of the BC Liberal Party my wife and I would like (to) voice our objection to this idea, hopefully you will take time to reconsider this plan."

June 9: "I've voted Liberal my whole life, but your party didn't have my vote last time and it won't the next time. And on National Aboriginal Day too. Wrong Indian, Christy."

June 11: "I voted for Christy Clark because I thought she had a good head on her shoulders, my mistake!! It won't happen again. Fool me once shame on you...."

June 10: "I've voted anti-NDP every election. It looks like stay at home election day will be best of alternatives."

June 12: "A disappointed past staunch supporter."  [Tyee]

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