|Paul Martin approves Christy Clark's federal Liberalization of Victoria! - Photo by Remy Steinegger|
|Former federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion in the old days - like when he used to visit Christy & Mark's house - meaduva photo|
Premier-Designate Christy Clark has begun the process of Federal Liberalizing her new government at all levels.
Notwithstanding the use of arch-Conservative Gwyn Morgan on her Transition Team to premier for at least optics, Clark is already stacking the deck with federal Liberal operatives.
Her campaign featured a host of Paul Martin-ite and Stephane Dion-ite operatives, including FD Element's Don Millar, federal Liberal Party spokesman Brad Zubyk, an ex-Harcourt NDP government aide, and of course Campaign Manager and now Chief of Staff Mike McDonald, who backed ex-NDP Ontario Premier Bob Rae in the 2006 federal Liberal leadership race.
And of course hidden in the backroom was her brother Bruce Clark - a longtime federal Liberal bagman and LPC BC executive member best known for the December 2003 police search of his home to find confidential BC government documents on BC Rail given to him by convicted fraudsters David Basi and Bob Virk. That would be the BC Legislature Raid case of course.
But now the more serious work begins - transforming government into a more palatable federal Liberal look - call it LP-osuction - removing the undesirable BC Liberal & federal Conservative love handles and replacing them with more attractive Grits.
First step - make the Premier's Deputy Minister non-Seckelular - by whacking Allan Seckel, who clearly did not want to go willingly - and replacing him with Kevin Falcon's ex-DM John Dyble. [Dyble and Seckel are, of course, public servants and not partisan, but the deck must be cleared.]
However, another public servant with a decidedly past partisan Liberal bent is involved.
Now we learn exclusively from Public Eye's Sean Holman that John Bethel, a former federal Liberal candidate and ex-Alberta LPC VP who backed the Paul Martin takeover from Jean Chretien that Clark's ex-husband and recent leadership campaign strategist Mark Marissen was engineering in BC, is also on the Transition Team.
Bethel is BC's health services assistant deputy minister and backed Liberal MP Scott Brison's failed 2006 leadership bid against Dion.
Today also we discover that Ron Norman has been fired by Clark as head of the Public Affairs Bureau - and rumours abound that federal Liberal Michele Cardario - now at Canuck Place Children's Hospice but formerly Deputy Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Paul Martin - will take over that job. Cadario also was involved in BC for the LPC in 2006 doing contract work.
Could a Paul Martin Liberal be in charge of the vaunted PAB propaganda machine? And I wonder if federal Conservatives are starting to get the message!
UPDATE - Michele Cardario will NOT be taking over PAB, the Suns TV/24 hour's Jehnifer Benoit reports. Will Cardario show up somewhere else?
UPDATE 2 - The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer says rumours have a third senior Gordon Campbell bureaucrat - Deputy Minister of Finance Graham Whitmarsh - headed for the plank.
Whitmarsh could take the fall for the bad news - for Clark - that the alleged $1 billion "wiggle room" Finance Minister Colin Hansen claimed the new premier would have last month in the budget has actually disappeared, as The Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter reports.
Ron Norman's firing is being met with widespread disbelief amongst Victoria press gallery members, with both Palmer calling it a "bad decision" and Global TV's Keith Baldrey calling it a "big mistake" on Twitter Thursday.
Was Norman held responsible for the most disastrous public relations campaign in BC history? That would be for the hated Harmonized Sales Tax - but the only person who was really to blame was Premier Gordon Campbell.
Monday's cabinet appointment day is shaping up to look more like regime change than a shuffle!