Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Christy Clark BC Liberal cabinet tests federal Conservative loyalty - will BC Conservative Party benefit?

Christy Clark after leadership win surrounded by many now ex-cabinet ministers, including Kevin Krueger & Murray Coell on right.
Will Christy Clark's cabinet cast-offs leave for another party? BC Conservatives are hoping

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee columnTuesday March 15, 2011 

By Bill Tieleman

"There were two kinds of chairs to go with two kinds of ministers: one sort that folds up instantly, the other sort goes round and round in circles."

- "Bernard Woolley" in Yes Minister TV series

Premier Christy Clark put her own face on the 11-year-old BC Liberal government -- and her foot on the throats of many veteran cabinet ministers.

Clark and her new cabinet were sworn in Monday afternoon -- and the new premier was likely sworn at privately by enough ex-ministers to populate a sizeable government committee.

And then there are all those who didn't get from the backbench into her downsized 18-member cabinet.

The big question now is whether angry BC Liberal MLAs who are left out decide to leave caucus and join the BC Conservative Party or some other political entity, retire or just grumble.

Heading the list: ex-finance minister Colin Hansen -- paying for helping former premier Gordon Campbell impose the HST -- or for his last-minute endorsement of losing leadership candidate Kevin Falcon, now finance minister and deputy premier.

Clark would dearly love Hansen to resign and let her take over his Vancouver-Quilchena seat -- one of the BC Liberals' safest.

Others who take a huge pay cut for being exiled from cabinet and could cause trouble include Moira Stilwell, who ran for leader before dropping out to support not Clark but George Abbott.

Big mistake -- big price.

And it can't be easy for Margaret MacDiarmid, Murray Coell, Iain Black, Kevin Krueger, Ben Stewart, John Yap and Randy Hawes to go from ministers to minions with no likelihood of returning to cabinet ranks so long as Clark remains leader.

Some of the departed become "parliamentary secretaries" for a little extra scratch but they won't be at the big table making key decisions or running ministries.

It can't make them any happier to see Blair Lekstrom, who quit not just cabinet but caucus over his riding's opposition to the Harmonized Sales Tax, now rewarded by becoming transportation minister.

Hidden tensions

While Clark and her supporters will put the perpetual happy face smile on her new government, seething tensions remain barely hidden.

In addition to the resentment of those left out, the dominant internal BC Liberal Party debate is whether Clark and her staff choices have shifted the so-called "free enterprise" coalition too far in favour of federal Liberals and against federal Conservatives.

Prominent federal Conservative John Reynolds warned before the leadership vote that Clark would split the coalition. The Falcon supporter and long-time Conservative MP says now he'll give Clark a chance -- but don't count on it lasting long.

Respected Conservative MP John Cummins is retiring to either run for BC Conservative Party leader or otherwise assist the party in the next election -- not good news for Clark. She fears a right-of-centre split vote that could let the New Democrats under their own new leader win the next election.

But many B.C. voters will not accept a federal Liberal premier, staffed by former federal Liberal candidates and supporters, implementing a federal Liberal-style agenda -- including a carbon tax and HST.

With prominent long-time federal Liberal Party activists like her own chief of staff Mike McDonald and deputy chief of staff operations Kim Haakstad, among others, the federal Conservative side of the coalition is going to be nervous to downright hostile towards Clark's team.

"Our government recognizes that it is time for a change," Clark said Monday.

What shape that change takes is up to voters, not Clark, however -- and change is never predictable in B.C. politics.



Anonymous said...

A good analysis.. . i don't think she will survive to be l elected to anything..

Anonymous said...

It would be incorrect to compare Gordon Campbell to Christy Clark; yes, they both have rabid & dismissive contempt for the society that claim to lead, but Gordon was still a traditional right wing politician despite being a sociopath.

Christy Clark (and I speak from nineteen years of knowledge on the creature) is not ideological.

She is simply an out and out opportunist.

Christy is an egomaniac, and can even be described to be a megalomaniac who must have her ego feed 24/7-52/1.

Yes she will "take the money", any money and run . . . just like the rest of them, but Christy Clark is also prepared on a moment's notice to betray anyone or group in order to further her own personal needs and agenda.

To think of her as the Liberal leader is erroneous because if it became personally advantageous Christy could easily betray her own party and cut a deal with the Left or the extreme Right.

Those who really know her are aware that for Christy Clark issues are just a convenient vehicle to acquire attention and acclaim or advance her career.

Christy will say anything, do anything, promise anything to any group or person in order to feed her personal agenda.

A deal with Premier/Prime Minister Christy Clark on Monday is her secret-deal with the "other side" on Tuesday.

Historians talk of politics' most cynical power-deal the Ribbentrop-Molotov "Peace" Pact of August 1939 . . . followed in June 1941 by Hitler's sneak attack on its friend Russia.

It will be interesting to see how future historians describe the career of Christy Clark.


Anonymous said...

Not likely.

The BC Conservatives are not much more than wing nuts.

And as per usual, Mr. Devilled Ham is out of whack.

He needs ro review BC politics.

and for those who figure Christy can't be Premier when she is not elected, turn back to August, 1986.

Bill VanderZalm was Premier, and he wasn't elected when he won the leadership either. Not even MLA.
He quit in 1983.

Anonymous said...

Christy Clark, has already let the BC people down.

I am very afraid, she just doesn't get it. The HST has done more to harm, low income families, seniors, children in poverty and single mothers, than any tax has ever done before. The HST was designed for big businesses, only. The carbon tax, is another rip off.

Christy is also refusing to clear up the mess of, Campbell's corrupt sale of the BCR.

Campbell's theft and sale of our rivers, means, our hydro is going up to, 50% more, causing higher bills, for the already cash strapped, BC citizens.

I have no faith in Christy Clark. She has made herself abundantly clear, she is backing all of Campbell's, dastardly deeds. She is no better than Campbell, and could turn out to be even worse.

As long as the BC Liberals are in office, the people of BC are going to really suffer. Campbell should be strung up, for all of his insane taxing. He should be in prison, for his corrupt sale of the BCR. However, in BC we have a, two tiered judicial system. If the regular guy pulled the same crimes that Campbell did, we would be in prison. The trial of the corrupt sale of the BCR, was nothing other than a farce.

DPL said...

So now we have another "Premier Mom" who has developed a lot of enemies on her first day.Her right wing Fiance guy will be working to get her job that he was so close to getting the first time he tried.Next election should see a number of those left off the real gravy train looking elsewhere for a job. Can anyone imagine hiring kevin Kreuger?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone imagine hiring kevin Kreuger?

Edgewater casino, oh but wait a minute that can't happen because he was the mninister responsible for the expansion of the roof on bc place stadium and gambling/gaming/entertainment

Anonymous said...

Premier Clark attended Simon Fraser University (SFU), the Sorbonne (France) and the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK), studying Political Science and Religious Studies.
After attending these lofty perches of higher education, she now holds a Grade 12 Diploma.
She left this accomplishment out of her Campaign.
Next time she is on the Bill Good Program I am sure he will bring this up, as part of his "fair and balanced" programming.

Ron1 said...

Let's be fair.

SFU isn't the only place where there are great parties.

The Sorbonne and U of Edinburgh are probably venues of really great parties - but in fairness we should ask Christy.

Anonymous said...

Clark was deputy premier at the time of the privatization of BC Rail and resulting scandal.Clark had also been a co-author of the Liberal Party platform for the 2001campaign, which specifically promised not to sell BC Rail

Anonymous said...

I just heard, Harper praise Campbell to the nines. He was asked, if Campbell would go east and work for him. Harper maintained, he knew nothing of Campbell's future plans.

Talking about clones, Campbell was a Harper clone. Christy is a Campbell clone. I don't know if Christy will carry on with Harper as Campbell has done. Time will tell. Nothing will change for the better, of the BC people. She has refused to have a review of the BCR. She says, the HST is here to stay. The very two items, the BC people are the most concerned about, she ignores. Harper wants the HST very, very, badly, so to that end, Christy fits.

Anonymous said...

Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!

Kam Lee

outsourced again said...

Bill, you cite an episode from the British TV series "Yes Minister" at the beginning of your post. I recall one of the early episodes appropriately called "Open Government" in which the Minister is forced to abandon the official party platform by senior civil servants.

Some of the "Yes Minister" series were used as training for new government of BC workers some years ago for good reason.

The promise of Open Government by Christy along with "families first" (!!) is the most cynical promise I have ever heard.

Just One of Thousands Of Disaffected Lib Voters said...

As long as you guys don't blow it by electing Dix as leader, you might actually get a chance to govern.

ABC, baby.

Anonymous said...

Bill, does Harvey Oberfeld pay you to copy your writings or does he just steal them? Most disturbing comment from the girly-girl
yesterday was that she will ask the feds to overturn the decision re: Prosperity Lake/Taseko Mines so we know she's just another puppet of Big Business.
Families First---she could not even keep her own together.
Cummins as a leader of the Conservatives. No way. He should go home and write his book "How I Failed the BC Fishing Industry"

kootcoot said...

"Can anyone imagine hiring kevin Kreuger?

Edgewater casino, oh but wait a minute that can't happen because he was the mninister responsible for the expansion of the roof on bc place stadium and gambling/gaming/entertainment

That would be the same unemployable in the real world Kevin Krueger who gnashed and wailed that gaming expansion would KILL families, when he was in opposition - I guess gaming became GOOD for families in the new millenium.

"Families First---she could not even keep her own together."

Yeah, and she did so much to improve public education in the province in her previous incarnation as Education Minister that she sends her single mom son to private school (in hopes that he won't become smarter than her?)

I liked the comment over at AGT's by a guy who was gonna convene his poker club to select a new premier for our province - would hardly be less democratic than what just happened.