Et tu, Brutus says Segarty and who can blame him?
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
A Shakespeare character famously said in Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” I’m sure if the Bard was alive today he would be saying something is rotten in the Liberal Party of BC and that rottenness is being manifested in Cranbrook.
Terry Segarty, one of our best-known citizens and respected member of the business community has been cruelly denied the opportunity to be a Liberal candidate in the May 2017 election in what can only be seen as a brazen act of political injustice perpetrated by a person or persons unknown.
Some things we do know. Officially the dirty deed was done by the Candidate Approval Subcommittee (CAS) of the Liberal Party of BC, a faceless group of anonymous lawyers, which cruelly stabbed Segarty in the back by denying him candidate status without a reason. In fact, they didn’t even have the backbone to tell Segarty to his face about their vile act. Instead, it was done by phone from a “very apologetic” party official, says Segarty, a former Cranbrook MLA and cabinet member of the former Social Credit Party, the predecessor party to the party now throwing him to the wolves.
In a column, last week, respected Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer says Segarty told him by phone he initially paid MLA Bill Bennett a courtesy call to let him know he would seek the Liberal nomination. Bennett expressed reservations about Segarty’s age (69) and health and said the party was seeking candidates of high moral character and noted the Top Hat affair of 1985. However Bennett also told Palmer “I accept that he (Segarty) wasn’t involved” and only mentioned it to him out of concern that re-airing it might embarrass Segarty’s family.
Despite this, Segarty said in a letter to Bennett he didn’t buy his explanation “I left your office totally offended with your comments and absolutely certain that you had every intention to thwart my attempt to seek the Liberal nomination. Shame on you.”
Shame, indeed! But was Segarty correct in blaming Bennett?
In his column, Palmer said he put the same question to Bennett and the soon-to-retire politician replied: “Personally, I have zero reservations about Terry Segarty running for us . . . He’s a good community person, a solid citizen, a caring individual.” Bennett also said he had “nothing” to do with the candidate selection process, but the fact remains that somebody or some member of the Liberal Star Chamber committee did Segarty in and doesn’t have the decency or integrity to acknowledge it, In doing so, that individual or individuals have cast an ugly slur against the entire Cranbrook community. If Terry Segarty can’t make the Liberal “fit to run for office list” then who in this town can?
And when you think about it, there’s hardly been a peep out of the local Liberal party establishment questioning the party’s disturbing silence. But there’s been lots in the media by concerned Cranbrook residents, not afraid to go on record with their disgust. “Shame on them,” says Gerald Hudson in the Townsman. Also in the Townsman’s digital edition, Carole Haberman says she’s “shocked and so disappointed.” Jonathon Eaton says “Awful . . . I believe Terry Segarty is a (man) with exceptional moral fiber.” And Bill Baerg adds “terrible news.” In the Vancouver Sun, Sharron Billey says “Terry Segarty is an amazing individual.”
So now it’s up to the court of public opinion on who you want to believe, but for what it’s worth I think it’s far more likely that the villains or villain in this piece live in Cranbrook rather than Vancouver where Segarty is little known, if known at all.
This is one of the nastiest pieces of political skullduggery to hit our town in a long time and it’s a shame that no one is willing to fess up.
Gerry Warner is a retired journalist who has seen a lot of political skullduggery in his time.