The Courtenay radio station that fired a host after he asked Premier Christy Clark a sexually charged question says the termination is a personnel matter and an internal decision and would not comment further.
Fair enough, but if the DJ was fired simply because he embarrassed the province’s top politician, that would be regrettable.
Justin Wilcomes was interviewing the premier on JetFM in December when he relayed a sexual question from a listener. This week, it was announced that Wilcomes has been released from his employment contract. In an interview with a Vancouver radio station, Wilcomes called his termination an overreaction.
We think the question was inappropriate and tasteless, and the radio host should have shown better judgment. Clark has been criticized for her response, but she probably did the best she could under the circumstances. But the question and the answer are not at issue here.
If Wilcomes was fired because his employers thought the conversation violated the station’s ethics or standards, that’s understandable. But if the termination came because the premier was involved in the conversation, that’s another thing. (The premier’s office did not complain nor did it ask for Wilcomes to be fired.)
Elected officials do not need to be treated with kid gloves, nor should they be. Certain protocols are necessary to facilitate the performance of their duties and to ensure their safety, but they are elected, not deified. A prime minister’s status (prime minister and premier mean much the same thing) is described as primus inter pares — first among equals. Our leaders stand among us, not above us.
Respectful conversation is to be encouraged, but it should not depend on political or social prominence.
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