Vancouver–Point Grey voters should never forget how Christy Clark mistreated the Rio Theatre
The B.C. Liberal government is spending large amounts of your money on advertisements claiming that it has a jobs plan for B.C.
But here in Vancouver, Premier Christy Clark is prepared to sacrifice 30 jobs at the Rio Theatre because of the province's archaic liquor regulations.
The owner of the Rio, Corinne Lea, has been told that because she has a liquor licence, she is not permitted to screen films at the cinema—even if Lea agrees to ban liquor sales when movies are shown.
Today, NDP MLA Jenny Kwan said at a news conference that this could easily be fixed if the cabinet would pass an order-in-council to allow the Rio to serve alcohol for events, and not allow booze sales when movies are being shown.
So why doesn't Clark—the queen of jobs—want to do this?
I would suggest it's because her own high-paying job is far more important to her than those of the cinema's employees.
B.C. Liberal trollers will no doubt fill the comment section below with denials after reading what's about to come. The reality is that Clark's B.C. Liberal party has to win a by-election in the middle of the province's Bible Belt in July.
If Gordon Campbell's cronies lose in Chilliwack-Hope, it will put Clark's political career in the Dumpster. And she might not be welcomed back as a highly paid talk-show host after flopping as premier.
So what does Chilliwack-Hope have to do with a movie theatre in East Vancouver?
The problem for Clark is that if she loosens the liquor rules at East Broadway and Commercial Drive, the holy rollers in the Fraser Valley will seize on this as evidence that the premier is another one of those godless secular humanists. And they'll be more likely to back the Conservative candidate, criminology professor John Martin, in Chilliwack-Hope.
Clark can't allow that to happen because it would lead to the death of the B.C. Liberals. So she is prepared to let an East Vancouver small business fry to keep her premiership on the front burner.
It's the same reason the B.C. Liberal government fought a futile court battle to retain ridiculously repressive new drinking-and-driving regulations, which turned police into the investigator, judge, and jury of the roadways. Bible thumpers in the Fraser Valley hate the demon rum—and B.C. Liberals are in no mood to piss them off.
The Georgia Straight has many readers who live in Vancouver–Point Grey, which is represented by Clark in the B.C. legislature. If most of these readers get out and vote against her in the May 2013 provincial election, they can end her career no matter what happens in Chilliwack-Hope.
It's the least Georgia Straight readers can do for an East Vancouver entrepreneur who is trying to bring more jobs and some cultural enjoyment to our community. Corinne Lea is not getting much help from the premier. Perhaps if Clark realizes there's a political price to be paid in her constituency, she might wise up and fix this situation, as Kwan has suggested.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.