Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Fresh off the campaign trail, Clark's focus switches from promises to policy

Premier designate Christy Clark at a the B.C. Liberal Convention in Vancouver after winning the Liberal Leadership election February 26, 2011.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Now, about that holiday....

Christy Clark campaigned on a "Families First" agenda that includes a Family Day in February, which would bring B.C. in line with Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario and other provinces that have approved a winter break.

It's too late for a February vacation this year, but Ms. Clark's Saturday win in the Liberal leadership race means her policies could end up shaping the province in the next few months and longer if she's elected premier.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Clark has ruled out a snap election, saying she wants to allow time for the New Democratic Party to choose its new leader, which the NDP will do in April. Under B.C.'s fixed election legislation, an election is set for May of 2013, but Ms. Clark has mused about calling an earlier race to obtain a mandate from voters.

Another potential brake on Ms. Clark's policy bus is the HST referendum, which is set for September and could - if voters reject the tax - result in B.C. having to pay back $1.6-billion in transitional funding to Ottawa. A housekeeping budget unveiled earlier this month included nearly $1-billion in "flexibility" for the incoming premier. Ms. Clark says she wants to move up the referendum to June.

Ms. Clark's campaign includes commitments ranging from a ban on cosmetic pesticides to a trade mission to India and China within six months. She has called for a balanced budget by 2013-2014 and sooner "if revenues allow." She's proposed a new "Business Creation Tax Credit" and several initiatives in the energy sector, including helping native groups get involved with clean energy

She also vowed to make the Prosperity Mine a "top priority". Ottawa nixed the project, a gold-and-copper mine near Williams Lake, last year on environmental concerns. Proponent Taseko Mines in February said it had submitted a revised mine plan that addresses environmental issues. Native groups who fought the mine remain staunchly opposed.

Along with what she promised in her campaign, Ms. Clark will be fielding demands and requests from a host of sectors and interests.

In his congratulatory message to Ms. Clark, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson urged her to work with municipalities on issues such as housing, public transportation and job creation.

Educators can be expected to say that Ms. Clark's family friendly policies should include more money for school boards.

Story continues below advertisement

On the environmental front, NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix on Sunday challenged Ms. Clark to reverse a recent decision made by outgoing Premier Gordon Campbell. In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper this month, Mr. Campbell backed the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta in asking the Prime Minister to defeat a federal opposition bill that would ban oil tanker traffic on B.C.'s north coast.

Even the Vancouver Board of Trade weighed in, saying that "investment in education has flattened and the issue of improved productivity needs to be addressed."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to