Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Commissioner Constance Barnes a beautiful bi-racial women, daughter of the late Emery Barnes, who was speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia today held a press conference to announce she had been charged with drunk driving on May 23,2009. Ms Barnes has been battling demons for quite some time and unfortunately things have once again come to the forefront for Ms Barnes with her latest drunk driving charge.

In the press conference Commissioner Barnes who belongs to Vision Vancouver was ushered in by Vision Vancouver handlers and read from a prepared statement regarding her criminal charges ( three of them) and which she said she will plead quilty.

Constance Barnes took full responsibility for her poor judgement and has now asked for the public's forgiveness.

Sitting by Commissioner Barnes side was Commissioner Sarah Blyth who obviously was placed there at the behest of the Vision party who are seeking to do damage control. Constance Barnes answered a few questions and then was ushered out of the press conference.

Commissioner Barnes had a great opportunity to speak the truth today and it really pains me to say this, sadly, she failed the test.

As a Park Board Commissioner Constance Barnes is an advocate for public safety and she did not mention anything about this in her prepared text. In fact when questioned by reporters about her blood alcohol she said, "I had a couple of ciders". The fact is Commissioner Barnes should have said exactly what her blood alcohol reading was as this is important information for the public to have. Ms Barnes also stated she fell asleep and crashed into a property but again falling asleep seems inappropriate considering the seriousness of the situation.

I suspect Vision demanded that Commissioner Barnes lessen the perception of the severity of the charges as they seemed more focused on damage control for their party's sake rather than the seriousness of public harm which comes to society when people get behind the wheels of their cars drunk or high on drugs. Seems to me if you are intoxicated you don't fall asleep but you pass out.

Commissioner Barnes has announced she will now take a medical leave for what she claims to be an alcohol problem and she is asking for forgiveness.

Whether the public is quite ready to forgive Ms Barnes is a question that she can expect to be answered when she has provided full disclosure regarding details of the issue at hand. She also needs to answer whether this has happened before.

While I supported Commissioner Barnes and really wanted her to succeed I was left reeling today after I witnessed both her and her Party focusing less on public safety but more on the image of their Party and its reputation..

It also seems to me that the Chair of the Park Board, Raj Hundal should have been present at this conference but he was not and this raises another question of why Commissioner Blyth was sitting beside Commissioner Barnes? Where was the Chair or Vice-Chair of the Park board?

Other outstanding questions loom and there will be focus on whether the public continues to have confidence of Vision governing at least at the Park board level. This will obviously play out in the weeks ahead.

While there are still so many unanswered questions and ones that Commissioner Barnes or Vision did not seem ready to answer today and since Commissioner Barnes is now being placed out of the spotlight, the public will have difficulty determining whether a paid medical leave is enough redemption considering the seriousness of the situation.

The public I'm certain wishes Commissioner Barnes well in her recovery as do I, but whether the public will continue to place trust in her ability to be a steward for children's and public safety will be answered at a later time.

Jamie Lee Hamilton