LAST week, in my piece “Christy Clark Expected to Transform B.C. Liberal Political Scene,” I wrote: “Next week, former deputy premier Christy Clark is expected to officially announce her bid to become the B.C. Liberal Party leader and the next premier of the province, succeeding Gordon Campbell.
 
“Is she does become the leader, Clark will transform the B.C. Liberal political scene from that of a senseless and arrogant rightwing dictatorship that has proved to be terribly divisive to that of a moderate, well-balanced democratic set-up that will reach out to all sides.”
 
On Wednesday, Clark, 45, announced she was in the race. She first announced it on the Bill Good show on Radio CKNW, where she had been a very popular talk show host for the past three years until last week when she decided to take time off to decide about her political future, and then to reporters at Simon Fraser University’s Segal Graduate School of Business downtown.
 
Clark said that the HST process was fatally flawed from the outset and proposed a FREE VOTE in the legislature on the HST. She said that once the House decided to get rid of the HST, they would go back to the PST and GST and “then I would close this file for at least five years. British Columbia needs certainty.”
 
She also spoke enthusiastically about how stepping out of Victoria (she was an MLA for nine years and served as education minister and deputy premier under Premier Gordon Campbell) and joining CKNW gave her “a fresh perspective,” about putting power back in the hands of British Columbians, about having a vibrant debate in the party where they could disagree, about optimism, about restoring public trust in government, about revitalizing the economy in the long term, about pursuing a ‘families first’ agenda, about putting patients in the centre of health care, about diversity when a reporter asked her about the South Asian media roundtable she was going to hold later that day (“I want this [province] to be a crossroads. It is a crossroads”), and so on.
 
To me, this appeared to be an attack on the way Premier Gordon Campbell had conducted his affairs, but Clark spoke up in his behalf, noting that “politics is tough, and most do not emerge unscathed. Those who do probably didn’t walk the road less travelled.”

 

 

She pooh-poohed the suggestion that her federal Liberal ties would affect her appeal to federal Conservatives in the party, noting that Campbell never asked anyone to show their federal party membership when they walked in the door and that he built a modern-day coalition by including people, not by excluding them.
 
When asked about two of her rivals challenging her to quit her CKNW job and commit to seeking a seat in the House, win or lose, Clark bluntly told reporters that she was the only one among the contenders who was not receiving a government paycheque and if she quit CKNW and lost, she would be the only one without a paycheque.
 
Good point!

 

HOWEVER, on the MINIMUM WAGE, Clark proved to be a DISAPPOINTMENT as she gave reporters the same rightwing b.s. of increasing it in a way that wouldn’t hurt business. (Read my last week’s column on this issue.)
 
Indeed, the minimum wage issue can help the NDP in a big way if they keep hammering away at it, assuring voters that they would increase it to $10 right away and painting the Liberals as heartless and greedy.
 
One NDP MLA told me that they would hold Clark accountable for tearing up the union agreements when she was part of the Campbell government. They would also lash out at her for the way she clashed with teachers when she was the education minister.
 
Anyway, as far as the Liberal leadership is concerned, I think Clark would make the BEST BOSS.
 
Indeed, she will make the Liberal leadership race interesting – very interesting, especially with all those skills that she has developed as a talk show host.

 

AND an Ipsos Reid poll that surveyed 1,400 people before Clark’s Wednesday announcement found that voters OVERWHELMINGLY favour her. She had a positive impression score of 39 per cent and a negative impression score of 28 per cent, giving her a net score of 11.
 
Guess what was Kevin Falcon’s score?
 
MINUS 23!
 
Mike de Jong’s score was minus-18 while Moira Stilwell’s was minus-12.
 
George Abbott came second with a net score of minus-1.
 
Wow, Clark sure makes Falcon and de Jong look like LOSERS!
 
The poll also found that 58 per cent of 2009 Liberal voters have a positive impression of Clark – only 15 per cent of them had a negative impression.
 
Liberal party members should heed that poll when they cast their votes for a leader on February 26 – unless they want their MLAs to warm their butts on the Opposition seats.