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Christy Clark ponders date of provincial election

Premier designate Christy Clark at her first Liberal Caucus meeting as Premier designate in vancouver March 2, 2011.

JOHN LEHMANN/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Christy Clark says she is bothered by her status as an unelected premier, but still considering the timing of a provincial election.

"Voters need a chance to vote on the premier," Ms. Clark told reporters Monday, following a groundbreaking for the long-expected expansion to Surrey Memorial Hospital.

"I am delighted that I am the 35th premier in B.C.'s history but I don't have a mandate from the people, I have a mandate from my party. So I want to go and get that mandate from the people."

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But she said she does not know when the vote might be set, noting that 2011 is shaping up as a busy year with the June 24 HST referendum.

Premier Clark has said she plans to change the date of the referendum, now scheduled for September, to June 24, but the government has yet to take legislative steps to do so.

Ms. Clark said she expected good progress on the hospital expansion, billed as a $754-million effort and the largest health-care capital investment in the province, before an election.

The project is supposed to be completed by 2014. The next provincial election is scheduled for May, 2013.

NDP MLAs attending the ceremony beside the current hospital criticized the government for delays in the long-awaited project.

"It takes a little while to build three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of capital," said Ms. Clark, standing in the site of the expansion.

"What you're seeing behind us? It doesn't happen overnight"

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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