Former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm’s take on the province's fractured right
Former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm has never been shy about sharing his opinions. So when the Georgia Straight sought him out to ask what he thinks of the two top figures on the fractured right, the ex–Social Credit leader obliged.
According to Vander Zalm, although B.C. Liberal premier Christy Clark missed a golden opportunity to score votes early in her term, it’s not too late for her to make three game-changing moves.
“If on the day she was chosen, she had announced that the HST [harmonized sales tax] was coming to an immediate end, that the smart meters were a matter of choice, and that [information related to] the B.C. Rail thing would all be released and made public, if she had done that on Day 1, she would have been elected with the biggest majority ever,” Vander Zalm said in a phone interview. “She might still do something quickly. But if she carries on kind of holding things back and slowing it up and [is] basically a repeat of Gordon Campbell, then it won’t work.”
While the B.C. NDP has built a good lead ahead of the ruling party in the polls, the ex-Socred premier believes that by bringing in the three measures he identified, Clark could “certainly close the gap”.
With respect to John Cummins, leader of the B.C. Conservative Party, Vander Zalm didn’t sound enthusiastic.
“The big problem that John has is that people don’t see enough of a difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals, which is why they’re talking about an alliance,” Vander Zalm said. “And John Cummins supported the HST, and that didn’t help. And I didn’t hear much about smart meters. So John’s gotta get on with some of those issues that would separate him from the other side. Otherwise, it’s one of the same pot.”