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HomeMiscellanyPremier’s proxies propping up Clark Clique

Premier’s proxies propping up Clark Clique

Bob Mackin

Remember that old, high school typing class drill, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party”?

Five big names connected to the “Christy Clark Clique” have popped up in media outlets in support of prolonging Liberal rule in the face of the Green-backed NDP alliance that aims to take over the B.C. government after a confidence vote on the throne speech. 

Two’s a coincidence. Three’s a crowd. Five? Either a basketball team or a political strategy.   

All in succession, after 2011 leadership runner-up Kevin Falcon gave the Vancouver Sun a highly critical post-mortem of the party’s loss of majority status in the May 9 election. 

None of the media outlets that gave soapboxes to the quintet of BC Liberal heavy-hitters provided their audiences a fulsome description of party connections. 

On June 3 in the Times Colonist, it was David Anderson, the former BC Liberal Party leader from 1972 to 1975. When he went federal, Anderson was a mentor to many west coast Liberals, including Clark. His career in Ottawa included a posting as the fisheries and oceans minister who led the 1990s shutdown of ports police.

Following June 8 in The Province was Chris Gardner, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association president. Gardner, who poached the effective Jordan Bateman from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation during the election, is on a campaign to save the $9 billion Site C dam project from the B.C. Utilities Commission review promised by the NDP’s John Horgan. 

Gardner took over ICBA from longtime BC Liberal proxy Phil Hochstein in January of this year, after working as senior vice-president of North America for the work camp company Civeo. Gardner was Clark’s principal secretary for a year, from May 2014 to May 2015. 

Gary Collins opined in the Times Colonist on June 14. You might remember him as the BC Liberal finance minister who suddenly quit in December 2004 to take-up a job the next day with David Ho’s Harmony Airways.

Collins was the next witness to be heard in the B.C. Supreme Court trial of ex-Liberal aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk in October 2010, but he never had to testify in court about what he knew about the BC Rail privatization scandal.

After years of maintaining their innocence, Basi and Virk agreed to plead guilty to taking bribes. Contrary to government policy, taxpayers were stuck with their $6 million in legal bills.   

Collins is a director of Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. The company operates private stores in B.C. under the Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn brands, and has benefitted from Clark’s booze deregulation. 

In the pages of the Times Colonist on June 22, Geoff Plant added his two bits worth. 

The Attorney General under ex-Premier Gordon Campbell is a BC Liberal appointee to the Providence Health Care board. Providence’s flagship is St. Paul’s Hospital, which the Liberals plan to move to a new $1.2 billion complex on False Creek Flats by 2022.

Plant is also the chancellor of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, chair of the Land and Title and Survey Authority of B.C., director of Steelhead LNG, and director of the Resource Works Society. Resource Works is the Liberal-allied, B.C. Business Council and Teck-backed, pro-industry public relations campaign.

Finally, on June 26, CKNW’s Jon McComb sought reaction from Stockwell Day about Clark’s sudden adoption of NDP and Green policies. Day is a former cabinet minister in the Stephen Harper Conservative administration. McComb additionally identified Day as a “consultant,” but did not mention his multiple directorships on Liberal-reliant corporate boards.

That Day is an apologist for Clark cannot be a surprise.

Day is a director of Pacific Future Energy, a proposed $10 billion oil refinery on Dubose Flats between Terrace and Kitimat. PFE’s board includes Mark Marissen, Clark’s ex-husband who remains a prominent Liberal strategist. PFE would obviously have an easier ride under a Liberal administration than the Green-backed NDP. 

Day’s resume includes directorships with Western One Equity, Baylin Technologies, AWZ Ventures, Canada-India Business Council and Canada-China Business Council, prominent Liberal donor Telus and RCI Capital. The latter runs an immigrant investor scheme targeted at wealthy Chinese who want to pay for fast-track Canadian citizenship.

Good riddance?

After Walter Cronkite’s famous Vietnam commentary, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson is said to have famously sighed: “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”

Bill Good (Rogers)

News1130 commentator Bill Good used to be Clark’s co-worker at CKNW, when he was the most-heard voice in B.C. radio and she was girding for a political comeback. Listeners have often criticized Good for being soft on the Liberals.

Good was the moderator for the first of two debates during the election period and put her on the spot a few times. His performance was stronger than expected. Her performance was very shaky. On May 9, Clark lost southern British Columbia. Three days later, it sounded like she lost the confidence of Good. 

In his May 12 “Minute With…” commentary, Good bluntly concluded: “Her time is up.” 

On June 23, Good opined about the previous day’s so-called “Clone Speech” that plagiarized from the NDP and Green platforms that Clark and the Liberals had discredited during the election. 

“Is it any wonder people are cynical when it comes to politicians?” Good asked.

“Suddenly Christy Clark has seen the light, or is it the dark, the dark place opposition members inhabit especially when they fall from power…

“Christy Clark insisted the NDP would drive us into debt if they did what she is now promising to do. Cynical? Desperate? All I know is there are a lot of unhappy Liberals out there and the throne speech didn’t make them any happier.”