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HomeMiscellanyIs she still “The Honourable Christy Clark”? The answer is no

Is she still “The Honourable Christy Clark”? The answer is no

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Bob Mackin

First she lost majority rule in the provincial election a year ago this week.

Then she lost power at the end of June, the week after the “Clone Speech” calamity.

A month later, Christy Clark lost unanimous caucus support and she quit politics.

Now the ex-premier of British Columbia is trying to promote herself as a motivational speaker-for-hire, with presentation titles like “Leadership lessons from a former Premier,” “Life as a woman in politics,” “It’s the economy, stupid,” and “Canada’s future.”

ChristyClark.ca used to redirect to her Facebook page. Now it is its own website, which includes photos from the campaign trail and refers to her as “The Honourable” Christy Clark.

But is she really “The Honourable”?

Her critics, who can’t forget the litany of Clark Clique scandals, will say she never really was.

She officially used to be. But she is not anymore. The NDP’s John Horgan became “The Honourable” when he succeeded Clark as premier on July 18, 2017.

“As indicated on the Canadian Heritage website, the title ‘Honourable’ is used for the premier of a province while she or he is in office,” Canadian Heritage spokesman Tim Warmington wrote in an email to theBreaker. “If the premier is also a member of the Privy Council, he or she could retain the title ‘Honourable’ for life. The Department of Canadian Heritage is not responsible for reviewing the use of titles by individual citizens.”

The Privy Council is a largely symbolic, exclusive federal “club” for current and former cabinet ministers, former chief judges, speakers and governors general to advise the Queen on important matters. Membership is for life. 

It “almost never meets,” according to the website. Only ministers and a handful of non-ministers gather for special events, such as the proclamation of a new monarch or a royal wedding.

The last formal gathering was 1981, when the Privy Council was asked to give consent to Prince Charles’s wedding to Lady Diana. There was an informal Privy Council gathering in 1982 when Queen Elizabeth II signed the new Constitution in Ottawa. 

The most-recent roster of the Privy Council includes just one ex-B.C. premier: Ujjal Dosanjh. Dosanjh received the title not for his stint leading the NDP government in Victoria, but for being a Liberal Health Minister.

Said Stéphane Shank, manager of media relations in the Privy Council Office: “Ms. Christy Clark is not a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.”

Shank reiterated the rule: “Members of the Executive Councils of the Provinces and Territories to be styled ‘Honourable’ while in office.”

theBreaker emailed Clark through the form on her website. Clark has not replied, neither has her agent.

We will be honoured to let you know if and when she does respond.

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