Martyn Brown: Is Christy Clark B.C.’s worst-ever premier?

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      Has B.C. ever had a more guileful, unprincipled and unworthy premier than Christy Clark?

      It is a debatable question, but she seems determined to make her own case for answering that question in the negative.

      Not that I am offering that opinion as such, don't cha know.

      But I’ve got to be honest, if someone asked me how she should rank in that regard, I would have to say that I have seen no evidence to the contrary.

      True to form, Clark’s last desperate ploy is to try to compromise Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon after today’s expected lost confidence vote, by offering the non-advice that she should essentially dissolve the parliament. Only indirectly, you understand, in answer to any questions she might put to her principal constitutional adviser, our outgoing premier.

      As Clark put it, “It is not my intention to advise her whether or not she should call an election. That’s her decision … but … if she asks me, do I think this legislature is working or do I think that it can work…I’ve got to be honest…it isn’t working. There is no effort on the part of either party to want to work together. There is no effort to collaborate. This isn’t a working legislature. And I don’t think—I haven’t seen any evidence that it could work…I haven’t seen any evidence that [the NDP and Greens] have the numbers that they need to actually govern.”

      Reading between the lines, if I were Her Honour, I would reinterpret her first minister’s words as they are understood at their nonface value by the 1,127,493 British Columbians who voted for the NDP and the Green party—as compared to the 796,772 who voted for the B.C. Liberals.

      “It is actually my intention to try to pressure the Queen’s representative to do my dirty work, by forcing a snap election that I am doing my despicable best to achieve without wearing it,” the premier is saying without saying it.

      “I’ve got to be duplicitous—because everyone understands that’s just who I am—you would not be wrong to conclude that in offering my non-advice, I will essentially be taking Judith Guichon for a fool.

      “Any idiot can see that it is really my party that isn’t working for B.C., not the NDP or Greens, who are doing everything they can to effect a responsible and honourable transition of power.

      “There is no effort on our part to work together with anyone. Never has been, never will be. 

      “There is no effort from us to collaborate with the 44 New Democrats and Greens who want to replace my 43 Liberals in government. Are you crazy? If that happens, I’ll be out on my ass, so fast it will make your head spin—not just as premier, but as party leader, too.

      “And I don’t think. That’s what you know I am really saying. Of course, there is plenty of evidence that the majority alliance has the numbers it needs to actually govern. It’s just that that scares the shit out of me. Because I’ll be gone. And because I will look like the pathetic, ridiculous, and failed conniver that I am.

      “What I’m really saying, in so many words that I haven’t said, is that I am hoping that only B.C.’s notional head of state will be too stupid to see that. I’m praying—because you also know how devoutly religious I am—that she will do me the courtesy of aptly responding to my non-advice, to send John Horgan packing whenever he shows up.

      “Did I mention it was Canada Day weekend? There’s no denying that.

      “Like the song says, ‘I don’t want to spoil the party, so I’ll go.’ But only if that’s the LG’s wish. Which I’m hoping it won’t be, as a past contributor to my party and as someone who I’m guessing might want to keep me around, me being so much fun and all.

      “Anyway, I’ve always liked those birthday cakes with the trick candles that won’t blow out. Can you imagine the look on the opposition members’ faces if I’m still in the catbird’s seat on Canada Day?

      “Now that would be a party for the ages, whatever turmoil it causes for those idiots who believe in democracy, who believe in ‘majority rules’, and who have faith in the lieutenant governor to invite the change in government that the legislature has voted for.

      “There are other things I am truly not going to say when I go to chat with Ms. Guichon after the vote.

      “I sure won’t point out that Government House will be Ground Zero for a protest, the likes of which we have never seen before in Canada, if she should decide in the absence of my advice to steal power from the NDP-Green alliance and to run roughshod over the majority’s wish for a change in government.

      “Nor will I say how I know that the current Liberal speaker won’t agree to stay on, once my government falls. I mean, he hasn’t resigned yet and he has been careful not to categorically answer that question, which he has said would not appropriate, under the circumstances.

      “Let’s just say, it’s safe to assume that he will play his part in frustrating the people’s wishes, by stepping down from his new gig, soon after my government gets the boot. I have no evidence of that fact. I’m not saying I do. But I do control his party nomination, after all, and he does hold the seat next door to mine. Just saying. Not.

      “In short, going out with class and dignity never was my thing. Nothing is beneath me. I think I’ve proved that in spades over the last six years.

      “That should serve me well enough to win another snap election that I want and need, but won’t be calling for. Screw B.C.—my butt’s on the line, and I refuse to say what everyone knows I mean, whether I meant to communicate that or not.”

      Martyn Brown was former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell’s long-serving chief of staff, the top strategic adviser to three provincial party leaders, and a former deputy minister of tourism, trade, and investment. He also served as the B.C. Liberals' public campaign director in 2001, 2005, and 2009, in addition to his other extensive campaign experience, and he was the principal author of four election platforms. Contact Brown at