Why is Transportation Minister Mary Polak wearing a Nike cap?
This morning, I was searching for information about the new Port Mann Bridge when I stumbled across this video about the "Combo Project", which was released nearly a month ago.
That's the name of rail crossing overpasses at 192nd Street, 54th Avenue and 196th Street in Surrey.
Most of the people in the video—including International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Surrey mayor Dianne Watts, and Port Metro Vancouver president and CEO Robin Silvester, and Surrey mayor Dianne Watts—are all dressed like they're from the government.
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak, on the other hand, showed up in a windbreaker, jeans, and a Nike cap. Her spin doctors must like the homey look because they put it on the ministry home page in the featured spot.
Mary Polak looks like one of the workers in front of a backhoe.
When an opposition leader named Gordon Campbell once ditched his three-piece suits for plaid shirts in an election campaign, he was subjected to widespread ridicule.
Polak, on the other hand, has managed to avoid similar scorn for trying to dress more like her Langley constituents as an election approaches.
It's easy to see why Polak has adopted this look. She's in the fight of her life in Langley against B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins. The NDP's Andrew Mercier is hoping Cummins and Polak split the vote so he can slide up the middle to victory.
This is not the first time that Polak has been a political chameleon, trying to blend into her environment. When she chaired the Surrey school board, she often spoke in favour of a ban on books about same-sex parents. That stood her in good stead with her political allies on the religious right.
Later when she became a provincial politician and this type of extremism was out of fashion, Polak was seated next to the B.C. Liberals' highest-profile gay politician in the legislature, Lorne Mayencourt, which conveyed the message that Polak really didn't hate gay people at all.
To reinforce that point, she later supported Belinda Stronach's ill-fated bid for the Conservative leadership against the more right-wing Stephen Harper.
In her previous role as the minister of aboriginal reconciliation, Polak distinguished herself as a strong advocate of treaties—further distancing herself from those days when she was seen by some West End residents as one of the province's leading homophobes.
But now, she has to get back into the good graces of her right-wing, churchgoing constituents. Keep in mind that they elect a fiercely proud antiabortionist, Mark Warawa, by landslides in every federal election.
Polak can't come out and say she opposes abortion because that would undermine the B.C. Liberals' efforts to woo female voters. So she dons a Nike cap and looks like a good ole boy instead.
It just might work.