Christy Clark displayed something in Kelowna last week that hasn’t been very visible in recent months since the B.C. Liberal Party members elected her as our premier.
In a media scrum while in Kelowna last week to officially open a new health sciences centre at UBC Okanagan, Clark exhibited so me of her political chops.
She showed a little of that spark, a little of that combativeness in defending her critical comments about life around the legislature and to cancel the regularly scheduled fall legislative session that helped her overtake the Liberal establishment in the leadership race to succeed Gordon Campbell.
Her comments about Victoria, calling it a “sick culture” and an “unhealthy environment” surrounded by politicians, pundits, lobbyists and bureaucrats might have been given a different resonance if she were not trailing in the polls to the NDP, and facing a possible third party upstart in the B.C. Conservative Party to siphon away votes from the Liberals.
But as she said last week, Clark has a deep love for politics. She grew up in a political family, was married to a political strategist well up in the federal Liberal hierarchy and hosted a radio talk show for five years debating issues with callers and her interview guests.
But we haven’t seen that exhibited very much since she became premier. Clark seems too often to be unprepared, unsettled on provincial policy direction such as the Enbridge pipeline proposal, and seems to have been unable to capture the support of the Liberal MLAs who largely didn’t support her in the leadership showdown.
If, as she now says, she wants to engage voters more in the political process by touring the province, she needs to let her love for politics, for political debate not be incarcerated.
She needs to be blunt and state her positions clearly to taxpayers. The political culture in Victoria may be sick, but that is where leadership for our province starts from.