Whoop dee doo: Christy Clark hops on the SkyTrain

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      In a Thursday, June 1 commentary on this website, I offered some unsolicited free advice to NDP Leader John Horgan.

      It came after Horgan and Green party Leader Andrew Weaver showed up at Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon's home with an agreement signed by every member of their caucuses.

      The duo mugged for the cameras in a staged photo op, which I found a bit off-putting.

      "The NDP's success can be attributed, in part, to Horgan's tone during the campaign," I noted at the time. "He demonstrated through his words and his actions that he was there to serve the public, not rich party donors. This was reinforced through the party's advertisements and policy pronouncements.

      "The NDP leader should get back to being photographed with ordinary people who helped get him elected. He should be reminding folks that he's a regular guy."

      The next night, Horgan tweeted a photo of himself with lacrosse hall of famer Wayne Goss at a Victoria Shamrocks game.

      Two days later, Horgan was cycling the magnificent Galloping Goose trail with his wife. He no doubt ran into lots of regular folks on that Sunday.

      The following Monday (June 5), Horgan announced on Twitter that he was going to ride the SkyTrain to hear people's thoughts about the transit system.

      Horgan gained a lot of mileage on June 5, literally over the tracks as well as in a political sense. He truly came across as a man of the people and someone who genuinely cared about transit riders' experiences on the system.

      So what did B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark do in response?

      She's lifted NDP ideas many times before.

      Examples include when Clark imposed a surtax on high-income earners (revoked after the 2013 election), raised the minimum wage, eliminated the clawback on family-maintenance payments, and boosted the corporate tax rate.

      Yesterday, lo and behold, Clark also rode the SkyTrain alongside her new Coquitlam MLA, Joan Isaacs.

      This has elicited a few guffaws over Twitter, including from recently retired NDP MLA  Maurine Karagianis.

      Clark's looming transit flip-flop

      Meanwhile, Clark has appointed former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan as her new minister responsible for TransLink. And Sullivan has been making noises about the B.C. Liberal government scrapping its pre-election promise to hold another referendum before permitting new expenditures on rapid transit.

      This policy was crafted before the 2013 election, likely to shut up the media-savvy, witty, and sometimes yappy Jordan Bateman when he was B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. The B.C. Liberals repeated this policy before the 2017 election, irritating Lower Mainland mayors.

      However, Bateman has since moved on to work for the Independent Contractors & Businesses Association of B.C. And its members are going to want more expenditures on large capital projects, such as new rapid transit lines and bridges.

      This means there's no longer any reason for the B.C. Liberals to neutralize Bateman on transit.

      Jordan Bateman is now the communications director of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.

      So expect Clark (a.k.a. the Duchess of Dunbar) to ditch the referendum idea and suddenly claim to be a devotee of rapid transit.

      Hence yesterday's photo op with her new MLA.

      This comes after she was annihilated over transit in the recent election campaign, due to the efforts of NDP MLA George Heyman.

      It all goes to show how malleable politicians like Clark can become when their careers are on the line.

      Clark's record is clear: she thwarted a transportation plan that was going to address congestion. It occurred because she wanted to please car dealers who heavily fund the B.C. Liberal party. The car dealers' ally was Bateman, who said all the right words to delay the expansion of public transit.

      The undermining of public transit has now cost the B.C. Liberals control of the legislature. And the NDP minority government will be propped up by the Greens, who are no friends of the car dealers.

      When cars backfire, they led out a loud bang. But when political campaigns backfire, the losers often pretend that everything is going to be okay.

      It's not going to be okay for Clark. That's because many Lower Mainland voters and a few mayors will never forgive her for promising a $3.5-billion bridge with no referendum but still insisting on a plebiscite for a comprehensive transportation plan to address congestion.

      That's to say nothing of the Clark government's dismal record on climate change.