Briefing notes are a cornerstone of government communications and decision-making, as this government web page explains.
That magnitude 7.8 shaker could be felt far and wide across British Columbia and served as a wake-up call to remind us we live in a seismically active corner of the world. It took almost 50 minutes for Emergency Management B.C. to get into action. American authorities had already issued a tsunami alert.
Clark’s chief of staff Dan Doyle and Deputy Solicitor General Lori Wanamaker were monitoring the situation, as their emails below indicate. Clark was apparently advised, via Athana Mentzelopoulos, the Deputy Minister of Government Communications and Public Engagement (and Clark’s onetime bridesmaid). Justice Minister Shirley Bond did a media conference call late that night. She said Minister Bill Bennett was also involved, communicating with coastal communities.
Clark may have been preoccupied with social gatherings in Whistler after the end of the BC Liberals’ pre-Hallowe’en “open” convention. It wasn’t the first time a major provincial event passed without a briefing note for the Premier. The 2012 Stanley Cup riot was not documented, despite all the reasons why it should have been. (I do know that the Premier left Rogers Arena and went home that chaotic night, instead of attending an emergency operations centre.)
Communications staffers worked the morning after the quake and produced a briefing note for Environment Minister Terry Lake.
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.