21 January 2011

BC Liberal Leadership Candidate Christy Clark

A dear friend who died just over a year ago spent her last decade, all the while coping through severe illness, trying to get community groups and non-profits recognized by governments for the beyond-their-weight work that they do for communities. Ronnie Phipps would have been thrilled to see a leadership candidate make a proposal such as this.

Christy Clark: "If elected premier, I want to hold a special summit with non-profits, charities and government to see if we can construct a made-in BC model for public and non-profit partnerships."

The expansion of non-profits, under Clark's vision, would follow four principles:

  • Transparent selection: organizations would clearly know how funding will be allocated and the criteria for selection
  • Encourage: motivate groups and people to get involved
  • Resources: Provide predictable funding and provide knowledge transfer from the B.C. Public Service to non-profits [my emphasis]
  • Measurability: Reward excellence and identify weaknesses in public and non-profit delivery of services.

"This campaign is about putting families first and strong communities, with vibrant non-profit groups that contribute so much, are a key part of that,” says Clark. “It's time we look at taking the work that has been done and raising it to the next level. Let's engage non-profits, let's engage British Columbians and find a way to build a non-profit and public partnership that strengthens communities."

That the proposal comes from a BC Liberal who currently runs in first place in public opinion polls for that party's leadership race would have astounded my friend Ronnie. The only thing she would have picked at, and which immediately got my attention, is the phrasing I highlighted in the quote. I made my objection public in a couple of tweets.

1: "provide knowledge transfer from the BC Pub Serv 2 nonprofits" http://bit.ly/i8EMOb AND OTHER WAY ROUND! NPs have tremendous knowledge

2: TO @christyclark4bc: PLS rephrase 'provide knowledge transfer from the BCPS 2 NPs' => 'between BCPS and NPs' http://bit.ly/i8EMOb.

In other words, I am suggesting point three be changed from:

Provide predictable funding and provide knowledge transfer from the B.C. Public Service to non-profits


Provide predictable funding and provide knowledge transfer between the B.C. Public Service and non-profits

It's a change of just two words, yet they make a crucial difference in the tone and meaning of the message.

I hope the phrasing gets changed. As is, it's disrespectful of non-profits. It fails to acknowledge the tremendous knowledge and expertise they have which, if heeded, would benefit the people in government who work to serve the public interest. The knowledge transfer shouldn't be just one-way.

Beyond that objection, I give a big thumbs-up to Christy Clark. This proposal, together with others Clark has made concerning community groups and the challenges to local governments is why I currently have her in top spot on my list of preferences for the next leader of the BC Liberals.

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