FACE it, Liberals. Christy Clark’s election campaign is bombing. Large
Appeared in the North Shore News – October 14, 2011
The former talk-show host is governing like a former talkshow host.
And dresses like a siren? A V-neck vamp? Blogger and former North Vancouver New Democrat MLA David Schreck’s claim that Clark showed improper “cleavage” in her legislature attire set off a sideshow that actually helped her. It diverted attention from a bad week or 20 for the premier.
Here’s a wild, vagrant thought: Is there a Jenny Kwan in the Liberal ranks? Who, like Kwan, a New Democrat lightweight, could break ranks where party heavyweights fear to punch, emboldened only when the leader’s decked and the count nearing 10?
Kwan, cat’s-paw for a few NDP Marxist clones and obscure grumblers, frontstabbed leader Carole James, inflicted party wounds not yet healed, and brought on political carnivore Adrian Dix.
All right, I’m mixing metaphors. The point is that the Liberal centre-right coalition includes, like the NDP, the sullen, the sour, the disappointed. And they have more reason to question Clark’s early leadership than the NDP had to undercut James, a good woman and attractive leader who’d greatly raised party fortunes in two elections and successfully reached out to business and the vital swing centre.
The latest opinion poll showed the NDP ahead by seven points. A shattering of the Liberal coalition well before the May 2013 election isn’t beyond possibility. Bill Vander Zalm and Mike Harcourt could testify to small mutinies that grew.
No need, no space to catalogue all Clark’s bungles. She personally approved attack commercials that helpfully raised the profile of (still) scarcely known Conservative John Cummins. And, for many, the dig “Just what we need, another unprincipled politician,” who “says one thing and does another,” sailed over Cummins and squarely evoked memories of you-knowwho.
Latest: Family Day, a gimmick so crude the NDP supports it, but not the arithmetic of large and small business while recession circles the economy.
As for pressuring Crown prosecutors and ultimately judges to introduce television cameras to the accused Stanley Cup rioters’ trials, targeting them alone: Talk about playing to the all-purpose angries in the peanut section. Clark’s pitch isn’t populist, it’s demagoguery, a faint stench of Stalinist and Maoist “people’s courts.”
Yes, it’s early days on a tough job. Cut the lady some slack. But if Clark doesn’t start shaping up soon, the Liberal/ business establishment could get nervous as the election approaches. In which case Clark needn’t worry about revealing her cleavage but covering her asterisk – the * in the books followed by: “Brief premier of British Columbia, resigned after party revolt.”
Says here that David Hahn made a cool, classy exit from B.C. Ferries. Which reminds me: The two no-win government jobs are public transportation (the bitching never ceases), and children and family welfare (the media play the sad stories like violins).
When Premier Bill Bennett assigned the latter ministry to rival Grace McCarthy in the early 1980s, it was, as Bugs Bunny would say, “coitains” for her queenly image.
Notice? Municipal elections are on Nov. 19. Even the gossip has been sparse. Nominations close today. Maybe a surprise or two will pop up. Coun. Michael Smith looks unopposed for mayor in West Van. After one term Coun. Shannon Walker is retiring. Issues: Density, zero budget increase. Hottest race: Can anyone end Coun. Bill Soprovich’s poll-topping record?.
I have some sympathy for the explosively growing (not to become, I pray, the growingly explosive) Occupy Wall Street movement, with a branch starting in Vancouver. The gap between the vastly rich, and the hard-pressed worker, the unemployed and underemployed, threatens to become social dynamite.
Cottages to Community: The Story of West Vancouver’s Neighbourhoods is the town’s (early) 100th birthday gift to itself. Get it for the pictures but stay for the words.
The text by Francis Mansbridge defines elegance without pretension. Equal billing to curator John Moir. It’s beautifully, tastefully published by the West Vancouver Historical Society (full disclosure, chairman Jim Carter was deputy minister of education and mentor when I was a consultant in Victoria 30 years ago). Expect wrenching nostalgia – yes, even for the canneries at Cypress Park and Caulfeild, driven out by the twitching noses of residents and leaving the town without industry.
All praise that the production was not by an offshore house but by Canada’s own excellent Friesens (Agent YR 2973 tips me to the fact that David Friesen has retired from the family firm to West Van).
As advertised, it chronicles each WV neighbourhood rather than unfolding a single municipal narrative, and it’s better for it. It’s an interesting contrast to the 75th anniversary book, Bruce Ramsey’s A Place of Excellence: A Chronicle of West Vancouver 1912-1987, a comparison that hurts neither.
The present book is widely available (speaking of excellent taste, my copy is from The Avant Gardener). Buy it now and for posterity.
© Trevor Lautens, 2011