Premier Christy Clark must be a lot more desperate than she’s letting on. It appears she has been forced to swallow her pride and hire one of Alberta Premier Allison Redford’s hand-me-down political toy boys.
Clark, who is having a spitting match with Redford over sharing tar-sands wealth, actually recruited her Alberta counterpart’s idle rainmaker Stephen Carter to perform unnatural political acts on this side of the border, starting with a cloak-and-dagger appearance at the party’s Whistler convention.
Back in September, Alberta political blogger David Climenhaga predicted that Carter was poised for a new challenge in B.C. Climenhaga told his readers there was a good chance of “Carter showing up in Victoria with a smile on his face and a nice apartment overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.”
Carter takes credit for engineering Redford’s leadership campaign against front-runner Gary Mar, her election campaign against front-running Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith and for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s campaign against front-runner Ric McIver. Climenhaga suggests Carter has been accorded way more credit for these saves than he actually deserves.
The Alberta wunderkind believes British Columbians really want to like Clark, but we “just don’t know what it is she’s in government for.” Very insightful. His initial cavalier advice to Liberals at a behind-closed-doors session was to ignore the pollsters, media pundits and political scientists who he calls “the Holy Trinity of incompetence.” This has most certainly endeared him to Clark who hates pollsters as much as she hates NDPers.
Maybe a made-in-Alberta solution is timely. Clearly, the advice Clark is getting here at home is skewed all to hell. During her pitch to convention delegates — “We have a big vision, a bold vision for our province, not a modest agenda, a bold one” — she claimed she can reverse her party’s death spiral if the remaining foot soldiers under her command get out and sell the Jobs Plan she says has created “57,000 new jobs” since being launched.
That was a whopper even by Alberta standards. And, it prompted some of the loathed media pundits to do a little fact checking. It became instantly apparent that Clark’s Jobs Plan claims do not square with Statistics Canada. Ottawa’s current labour force statistics indicate that unemployment in B.C. has actually increased over the past year to seven per cent.
Full-time employment increased about 44,000 since the jobs plan was introduced, but part-time employment dropped 15,000 for a net increase of less than 30,000 jobs — nowhere near the 57,000 Clark takes credit for.
I think the premier should have shopped for help on this side of the Rockies. I would have recommended her predecessor’s former chief of staff Martyn Brown, notwithstanding the fact that Gordon Campbell’s former consigliere has been pumping lead into Clark ever since he left government.
Just before the convention, Brown wrote: “Step outside the tiny convention hall and beyond the din of the party faithful, and it all soon sounds like distortion.” Now that’s prescient.
He has also reminded Liberals that “some 75 per cent of B.C. voters now plan to vote for parties other than the one in power. What they want, above all, is a real vision for a better British Columbia that is backed by specific policies and initiatives.”
That’s the kind of tough love they need, not that glib Alberta crude. M