Christy Clark is looking more and more like Bill Vander Zalm
Political history doesn't repeat itself—but sometimes events bear a strong resemblance to what's occurred before.
In 1990 and 1991, Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm was in serious trouble with his colleagues.
He had come in as leader with the support of just three caucus members in the campaign. The party establishment preferred then-attorney general Brian Smith.
Vander Zalm also developed policy on the fly, sometimes not even consulting his colleagues.
And the Zalm was a populist who liked going straight to the people—often over the heads of his cabinet, the media, and his party's financial backers.
More than two decades later, Premier Christy Clark is looking like a female version of the the beleaguered Socred premier.
Like Vander Zalm, she quit cabinet between elections, setting herself up as a leader-in-waiting should the incumbent falter.
When Clark was elected party leader in 2011, she was only supported by one member of caucus.
And since then, she has relied on charisma, like Vander Zalm, only to see her poll numbers fall, suggesting an inevitable NDP victory.
Tomorrow, the B.C. Liberal cabinet will hold an emergency meeting in Vancouver to deal with the latest crisis: the premier's office's involvement in a sketchy plan to use government resources to help the B.C. Liberals win votes from minority communities.
Through it all, Clark has remained cheerful in public, insisting this is a minor flap that's easily resolved.
Vander Zalm exuded the same confidence back in 1991 until he was forced to resign in a conflict-of-interest scandal involving the sale of Fantasy Gardens.
Shortly after Clark won the leadership, Vander Zalm told the Straight that she wouldn't be able to make peace with the candidates she defeated.
"You're dealing with politicians," he said at the time. "And politicians have big egos, and they're all, at least in their minds, the smartest people in the world."
Tomorrow if the B.C. cabinet plunges a knife in the back of the premier, don't be surprised if Vander Zalm blurts out: "I told you so."