In defence of Christy Clark

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Christy Clark has just endured one of her worst weeks since becoming premier.

It started when Angus Reid Public Opinion poll showed that the B.C. Liberals are still mired at 31 percent among decided voters.

Then a controversy erupted over the role of two Prince George–area cabinet ministers, Shirley Bond and Pat Bell, in the awarding of a contract.

According to the Globe and Mail, documents suggest that they "were aware of and appear to have played a role in the procurement process for a multimillion-dollar contract in Prince George".

Then there was the leaked document outlining how the B.C. Liberals were prepared to use government resources to help the party woo nonwhite voters.

That prompted John Yap to step down as the minister of advanced education, innovation and technology. He's been the B.C. Liberal minister responsible for multiculturalism.

It looks like the B.C. Liberals are doomed in the next election.

And for many of us, Christy Clark's short premiership will go down as a footnote in B.C. history.

It's fashionable and valid to bash Clark for the way her officials have erased the boundary between the government and her party.

But in office, she has still managed to make a few progressive moves to reverse a couple of the worst aspects of the Campbell legacy.

These measures include:

• Increasing the minimum wage from $8 to $10.25 per hour—something Gordon Campbell always refused to do.

• Allowing employable social-assistance recipients to earn up to $200 per month in addition to their benefits. Under Campbell, the B.C. government clawed back every dollar earned by an employable person on welfare.

• Increasing taxes on the wealthiest British Columbians. Any taxable income beyond $150,000 is assessed at 16.8 percent rather than the 14.7 percent rate charged during the Campbell era.

These days, it's rare for North American governments to raise income taxes for the rich, especially when this notion is so widely condemned by right-wing newspaper editors and free-market think tanks like the Fraser Institute.

Individually, each of these steps appears relatively modest. But collectively, they amount to a repudiation of the core neoliberal tenets of the Campbell regime, which was often guided by Fraser Institute thinking.

Clark's progressive policy changes all match proposals of the B.C. NDP—and perhaps Adrian Dix is correct when he accuses Clark of stealing his party's ideas.

But the end result is a slightly better life for some of the province's poorest residents.

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MarkFornataro

Mar 4, 2013 at 3:23pm

Well said Charlie. In politics as elsewhere, its always right to give credit where its due. Now lets hope the NDP under Dix will take further meaningful steps to help the poor.

Roger

Mar 4, 2013 at 3:26pm

In defence of Christy Clark.

What has she done?

SPY vs SPY

Mar 4, 2013 at 3:36pm

A Politicians actions are always suspect when they decide to do the Right Thing at the very last moment before an election.

However Three Right Things do not make up for the Hundreds, if not Thousands of things the BC Liberal Party has done, that were wrong and hurt many Hundreds of Thousands of BC Citizens.

The problem is probably not just Christy Clark herself, it is what the BC Liberal Party stands for and what they have done.

I am darn sure many BC Citizens are watching these Death Throws of the BC Liberal Party with Glee and in 10 weeks, there is gonna be one heck of Party in BC when the BC Liberals are tossed out.

The betting line is at 20 seats for the BC Liberals. You bet 20 or more or less.

Ron S.

Mar 4, 2013 at 3:50pm

Roger, pull your head out of your ass and smell the roses.

James G

Mar 4, 2013 at 3:54pm

Devil's advocacy is great although normally more fun -- in this case it seems like charity. All of the laudable improvements were fitted like everything else into an election strategy. That is the hallmark of someone more interested in having the job of Premier than doing the job.

the Pope

Mar 4, 2013 at 3:54pm

let`s not forget BC Rail,GST,selling the fast cats for next to nothing,etc.etc.etc...Christy Clark was and is all part of a Lieberal Party that always went against the wishes of the majority of British Columbians.All to make her and their political allies richer on the backs of the hard working poor middle class....LEST NOT FORGET....

Rick in Richmond

Mar 4, 2013 at 4:40pm

There have been two great and populist governments in BC history.

The first was WAC Bennett. In his 20 years, lifting many a policy from the CCF/NDP, he created BC Hydro. BC Ferries. BC Med. SFU. A superb set of highways opening up the north and the interior. Expansion of local and regional airports. These initiatives were all essential to the modern prosperity of the province.

The second was Dave Barrett. In his 3.5 years he brought BC into the 20th C, and its people into the modern era. Thanks to Barrett we enjoy the ALR and preservation of farmland. The Islands Trust. ICBC. Regional colleges. SeaBus. The preservation of Whistler, Blackcomb and Cypress Bowl. Hansard and Question Period. An opposition MLA chairing Public Accounts. The BC Ambulance Service. The first Alcohol and Drug Commission. A modern Labour Code. Pharmacare. And so much more.

By either measure, Christy Clark has done little, although Charlie is right to give her credit for those initiatives he cites. Fair is fair.

As she becomes a footnote this spring, one has to ask if she would have done better had she totally thrown off the mantle -- and the burden -- of Gordon Campbell and the HST. Golden Ears and PPP. BC Rail and $6 million wasted on criminal defendants. And so many more blunders over the years.

Because Christy Clark never became her own woman, she allowed herself to be seen as another man. In that context, her Premiership was doomed from the first day.

WAC Bennett and Dave Barrett set a very high standard against which all future Premiers will be judged. In that arena, Christy Clark had little to offer.

Birdman

Mar 4, 2013 at 5:11pm

Which premier is inferior? Geez, a tough call. Campbell was the worst, whereas Clark is mostly just incompetent. Fearless Gordo was the most deceitful, malicious and downright evil premier this province has had in living memory. I live to see him locked up in jail someday

iSheep

Mar 4, 2013 at 8:21pm

Well I like you & your Paper Charlie good on you.

Christie Clark would never have done any of the things mentioned if she was not under pressure from Day One due to the mess left by one Drunk Driver.

For all the Idiots proclaiming that Clark was incompetent / useless, he is the President for one of richest & most successful Businessmen in Canada - Jim Pattison.

Glen Clark
President

The Jim Patisson Group.

And what have the Idiots complaining about Clark accomplished? They are not even in the same league in Business or Politics.

Mr. Clark is a winner, Ms. Clark & that Drunk Driver, not so much.

fedup

Mar 4, 2013 at 9:41pm

150G a year is hardly rich. I pay enough tax to support 2 people on welfare. The least they could do is come cut my lawn

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