HASH(0xb41a30)

Clark still smiling about chances as B.C. election enters homeward stretch

Clark proud of record, asks B.C. to trust her again

PRINCETON, B.C. — Christy Clark appears unruffled by the rebuff of a shy one-year-old outside a cafe in southern British Columbia, who buries his head in his father’s shoulder.

Unfazed, the B.C. Liberal leader plucks a red-and-white pinwheel from a nearby flower box and coaxes a smile from the youngster, who accepts the spinning toy.

As she campaigns across the province, Clark, 51, comes across as similarly confident in her ability to win over B.C. voters in Tuesday’s election.

Clark is a seasoned campaigner and in the 2013 provincial election, her first as party leader, she was widely predicted to lose.

“We were 20 points behind,” Clark recalled in a recent interview. “It was just terrible.

“The caucus was divided. The party was broke. We were doomed. Everybody said we were going to lose the election.”

Despite losing her own seat, Clark achieved the unexpected and led the Liberals to their fourth-straight majority government.

This time Clark is running on her record after a full-term in office.

“I feel like this time I have more to say to people than just, ‘Trust me, I’m going to try and do my best for you,’ ” she said between campaign stops in the Okanagan region.

“This time I can say, ‘I told you I was going to do my best for you. We have made British Columbia number one in the country. I hope you’ll trust me to do it again.’ “

Clark’s campaign is highlighting the Liberal party’s stewardship of a provincial economy that has led the country in growth while trumpeting its financial management by stringing together five straight surplus budgets and promising four more. She has reminded voters the last time the NDP was in power in the 1990s the economy stagnated.

But incumbency also has its challenges.

Clark’s record is weighed down by a child-poverty rate in B.C. that is the highest in the country. Housing affordability became an issue under her watch and there appears to be growing discontent over political fundraising laws.

Clark is no stranger to politics, nor to political defeat. As a child she helped campaign with her father, who was a three-time candidate for the B.C. Liberals, a party that was virtually non-existent at the time.

He was never elected, but in 2011 the party he championed chose his daughter as its leader. By then Clark had survived the crucible of student politics during her time at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

After she was first elected to the legislature in 1996, she went on to serve as education minister and deputy premier in Gordon Campbell’s government.

The Liberal campaign’s focus on the economy and job creation has also seen Clark portray herself as the only leader willing and able to stand up to “rising protectionism” south of the border.

Late in the campaign, Clark threatened tough action against the thermal coal industry in the United States, asking Ottawa to ban the coal from travelling through U.S. ports after the Americans slapped new duties on softwood. She says she is also willing to go it alone by taxing the coal if the federal government doesn’t back her.

Her friends and opponents have described Clark as a fierce political competitor with a knack for electioneering.

“Campaigns are a test of character, as much as a test of policy,” she said.

— Follow @gwomand on Twitter

 

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

Most Read