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Clark criticism just more of the same pointless posturing

British Columbia premier-designate Christy Clark, left, laughs as she watches her nine-year-old son's hockey game in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday February 27, 2011.

Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press

A bit of history was made on Saturday night at ye olde new convention centre, and not the single-mom thing. For the first time in more than 11 years, B.C. will have a premier named Clark. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

My first advice: stay away from neighbours bearing decks.

Christy Clark displayed a lot of shortcomings during the leadership campaign, well documented by her opponents. Among a number of cutting, verbal jabs, it was hard to top Kevin Falcon's observation that she was too often guilty of a "ready, fire, aim" approach. Predictably, these same rivals are suddenly all lovey-dovey and kissy-poo with the incoming boss.

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Although fun to dredge up, however, none of this history, including Ms. Clark's fractious tenure long ago as Education Minister, amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world. That was then, this is now. What matters is how Ms. Clark does as premier, and for that we'll have to wait a bit, as time goes by.

Not that the NDP was prepared to wait. Mere minutes after Ms. Clark's narrow victory was announced to less-than-rapturous applause (Night of the Forced Smile, as one wag described it), NDP press releases were on reporters' desks announcing: "Christy Clark, More of the Same."

And interim NDP leader Dawn Black interrupted her Sunday with a harsh finger-wagging to the premier-designate to stop her "victory lap" and get to work.

It's not quite the same rip their throats out and eat their young approach to the NDP that the partisan Ms. Clark, herself, seemed to delight in on the campaign trail, mind you. But the NDP's swift drawing of daggers was not only on the graceless side, but pointless.

With my usual breathless anticipation, I await the NDP reaction to Ms. Clark's first cabinet, with or without Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak. I can see the press release now: "Christy Clark Cabinet, More of the Same."

Call me in April, when the new premier has actually done something.


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British Columbia is well-fixed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day on Tuesday. The situation won't last, and Gordon Campbell is still clinging to the bureaucratic rungs of power, but for the moment, all three main parties in the province are headed by women. Not only that, Nancy Sinatra replied to one of my tweets.

In honour of sisterhood's big day, let's recall a pointed observation by the redoubtable former mayor of Ottawa, Charlotte Whitton, who remarked: "Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men, to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult."


Also turning 100 is B.C.'s beloved parks system. Each of the 10 remaining, full-time park rangers can mark the occasion by lighting and blowing out 10 candles. But they had better buy cheap ones. Cash is short.

In 1991, the B.C. Parks budget was $40-million. Today, 20 years later, while the amount of land set aside for parks has doubled, the budget has been cut by 25 per cent, to a measly $30-million.

Meanwhile, the number of park visits dwindles, and, as advocates never tire of pointing out, B.C. has something in common with Mississippi, besides the lack of an NFL franchise. They are also the only state/provincial jurisdictions in North America without publicly funded interpretive programs in their parks. Not even a hoot for the hoot owl.

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How about it, Madame Soon-To-Be Premier?


Some mourning this week by the sad old relic who writes this notebook.

First, for Suze Rotolo, the sweet, early muse of that young ragamuffin Bob Dylan, who shuffled off this mortal coil at 67. They were just a couple of kids when they posed so charmingly, arm-in-arm, for that lovely wintry moment depicted on the cover of Bob's second album. Think twice, it's not all right.

Remembrances also for Robert Reguly, a legendary reporter from the days when newspapers were the only game in town, who had -30- writ beneath his name at the age of 80. Within a couple of years, Mr. Reguly chalked up two scoops for the Toronto Star that other Canadian hacks could only dream of.

While the Mounties hunted everywhere for fugitive Hal Banks, Mr. Reguly discovered the waterfront thug and union racketeer living comfortably on a yacht in Brooklyn harbour.

And, most famous of all, he found the glamorous Gerda Munsinger alive in Munich, when she had been reported dead. The East German-born Ms. Munsinger, who had dallied with several bedtime Tory cabinet ministers, was at the forefront of that rarest of Canadian political events, a bona fide sex-spy scandal.

As a kid, I thought that was as juicy as reporting got. And maybe it was. Goodnight and good luck, Bob.

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