Premier Christy Clark is “re-structuring” her cabinet, but a more
pressing challenge for her is finding enough credible candidates to
carry her party’s tarnished banner in the next election.
The B.C. Conservatives, on the other hand, have yet to demonstrate
they possess a disciplined, seasoned process to oversee an election
campaign. Cummins once expressed concern to me on a Shaw Voice of B.C.
program that his party would attract the wrong kind of candidate who
could prove embarrassing.
As I wrote here previously, the B.C.
Conservatives have to inoculate themselves from “bozo eruptions” from
candidates in the middle of a campaign. They can derail any campaign
momentum rather quickly.
Indeed, Cummins himself has just provided
the exact kind of comment I’m talking about. In an interview with the
Vancouver Sun’s Jonathon Fowlie last week, Cummins compared himself to
Jesus Christ no less.
In talking about facing a potential challenge to his leadership, Cummins
said he could find only one party board member who wanted him gone.
Then, he added this gem of a quote: “I hate to use a Biblical reference
but Christ had 12 apostles, and one turned him in. We share the same
initials but I can’t rise from the dead and I can’t get unanimity on the
board. I wouldn’t expect to be able to. He couldn’t. I can’t.”
Clark’s potential problem when it comes to candidate recruitment is a
little different. While Cummins is asking people to come on board a new
venture, where the expectations might not be so high, Clark is trying
to convince people to jump aboard a ship that is listing badly and seems
likely to go under, or at least not right itself any time soon.
her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, could woo “star” candidates such as
Carole Taylor, Wally Oppal, Margaret McDermiad, Kash Heed and Moira
Stilwell with the offer of a cabinet post, Clark is not in a position to
The best she can offer, right now at least, is the
chance to be a portfolio critic sitting in the Official Opposition.
That’s not the most appealing offer to people who currently have good
careers in the private sector.
The one leader sitting in the catbird seat is, of course, the NDP’s
Adrian Dix. He’s only losing a handful of MLAs from his caucus (Clark,
on the other hand, will lose about 20 sitting MLAs) and his party is
well along in the nomination process.
The NDP finds itself in a situation similar to the one it faced in
1991, when it was also heavily favoured to form government. Back then,
it got people like Mike Farnworth, Joy MacPhail, Penny Priddy, Andrew
Petter, Ujjal Dosanjh and Sue Hammell to run as first-timers, and they
all became strong cabinet ministers.
It’s yet another parallel to
the pivotal 1991 election, which saw a long-time political dynasty
almost disappear from sight. The current premier has a lot of work ahead
of her to prevent the same thing happening again next May.
The lushes at K&K have come up with a new drinking game. From now
until the provincial election on May 14, 2013, we’re going to drink a
shot of Baja Rosa every time Premier Christy Clark or someone in her newly shuffled cabinet says the word “family.”
If we had started this drinking game when Clark and her so-called “families first” agenda
was ushered into office, we would have a nice buzz going right now. But
with the election looming and Clark desperately trying to make a
connection with disillusioned voters, we fully expect to be on the verge
of liver failure by the time polls close on election night.
In fact, it’s only been a few days since Clark introduced her new
cabinet and we’re already comfortably numb from the sweet nectar of
tequila- and strawberry-infused dairy products.
According to the Vancouver Sun,
Clark wrote a smiley letter to each of her cabinet members stating:
“Our government faces many exciting challenges and opportunities in the
months ahead. Our success will be defined by our ability to develop and
implement an agenda that connects with the priorities and circumstances
of B.C. families.” One shot.
“I have established a cabinet working group on family affordability
which will work to find savings, and opportunities to provide some
relief for household budgets.” Two shots.
“I urge you to identify specific ideas on how our government can help keep life affordable for families.” Three shots.
“What I’m really focused on are families,” Clark told the media
Wednesday. Four shots.
“And there are a lot of families who fit into
this category—who just feel like they aren’t getting ahead and they’re
worried about their future.” Five shots.
Clark then passed the families first peace pipe to her new finance
minister, Mike de Jong, who said: “Where we can reduce the [tax] burden
further for families, we will explore that.” Six shots.
Clark then got changed into a cheerleader uniform, grabbed a set of
pompoms and performed a cheer. “F-A-M-I-L-I-E-S! What does that spell?
Admittedly, we were pretty wasted on Baja Rosa by the time that occurred, so we may have hallucinated the whole thing.