Clark knows for whom the bell tolls

Only a true April fool can look back on this week and still believe Premier Christy Clark’s promise

Only a true April fool can look back on this week and still believe Premier Christy Clark’s promise that her renewal of the Liberal government would focus, first and foremost, on the welfare of families.

More than a year ago, the starry-eyed premier-in-waiting assured us that a government of her making would be subject to a “families first” litmus test when it came to policy initiatives.

A year later, the province’s 2012/13 fiscal year has arrived with a tsunami of tax increases that do nothing but dip into the pockets of the already hard-pressed working families, particularly those who make the Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria regions home.

BC Hydro customers suffered the highest rate hikes, seven per cent on the average annual bill, which translates to about $5 more a month. This comes as waves of new smart meter customers are reeling from inordinate and unexplainable billing increases that the Crown corporation is largely dismissing as the customers’ fault.

Then there’s BC Ferry fare hikes of more than four per cent across the board; monthly Victoria bus pass increases of $2 to $3; and another two cents a litre gas tax hike in Metro Vancouver to help fill the Evergreen Line rapid transit money pit.

This week, rather than figuring out how she can help working families by holding the line on these cascading tax increases, a haggard-looking, puffy-eyed Clark was spending money we don’t have. In an effort to shore up her big business base and put her stamp on former premier Gordon Campbell’s Gateway legacy, she committed $700 million for unspecified transportation projects to help increase Asian trade.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with increasing Asian trade, but any idiot can raid the treasury and throw dollars at unidentified projects. That’s not leadership, that’s old-fashioned chequebook politics. Leadership is doing what you promised in the first place — putting families first.

I find it most telling that reporters who are following the premier around to these dog and pony shows seem more interested in quizzing her on her government’s descent into chaos than on the details of her latest photo-op.

Don’t blame the media. The signs are too obvious to ignore.

Moments after the premier’s “Gateway 2012” announcement at Neptune Bulk Terminals in North Vancouver, CTV’s legislature reporter Ed Watson shared details of a brand new Angus Reid poll that shows the NDP with 43 per cent support and the Liberals and Conservatives tied at 23 per cent.

The poll also gives NDP leader Adrian Dix a 45 per cent approval rating compared to 32 for Clark. Normally circumspect, Angus Reid vice-president Mario Canseco said the findings point to a “leadership crisis.”

Another Angus Reid poll reveals that Clark has the second lowest approval rating in the country, right down there with perennial cellar dweller Jean Charest of Quebec.

The bottom line is undeniable. If things remain unchanged, the NDP will easily form government after the May 2013 vote. The Mustel Group currently projects 49 NDP seats to 32 Liberal. Forum Research predicts 76 seats for the NDP with the Liberals all but wiped out. Both pollsters show the Conservatives polling ahead of the Liberals in the Interior and the North and poised to win four seats or more.

No, the media cannot be blamed if it has begun the death watch. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

VIU music instructors Hans Verhoeven, Ben Henriques and Ken Lister (from left) are presenting a weekly jazz performance series with pianist James Darling (not pictured). (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU music instructors presenting online jazz concert series

Musicians getting ‘back in shape’ performing American Songbook standards

Nanaimo’s Todd Cameron won the $1,000 Fan Favourite prize in Vancouver radio station CFOX 99.3 FM’s one-minute movie contest for his version of ‘The Big Lebowski.’ (Photo courtesy Todd Cameron)
Nanaimo man’s 60-second stop-motion ‘Big Lebowski’ remake wins fans’ choice award

Todd Cameron takes home $1,000 prize in Vancouver radio station contest

Kathryn Calder, City of Victoria’s artist in residence, is facilitating a performance and songwriting workshop for youth. (YouTube)
Online music workshops available for Greater Victoria young artists

Artist in Residence Kathryn Calder to host songwriting, performance series

Most Read