As the dust settles, Premier Christy Clark just might be in a no-win situation.
On the heels of her party’s decisive victory last week, the BC Liberal leader’s unheralded celebration was tempered by the loss of her own right-wing-friendly Vancouver-Point Grey riding to New Democrat David Eby.
It is open to conjecture whether her failure to win in her borrowed provincial riding – hand-picked when former premier Gordon Campbell resigned mid-term – was a statement against Clark, against her party, for Eby, for his party, or a combination of these factors, vote splitting, apathy and more.
Regardless, Clark must now find a ‘safe’ riding in which to run. And this is where voters’ exacerbated distrust of politicians – all politicians – will make this a tougher sell, regardless of how friendly the riding is.
It will require one of 50 election-night victors from among her party faithful to resign, telling voters “thanks but no thanks” just days after coming to us cap in hand.
It will also require Clark to tell these same voters she unabashedly counts on their support, despite, presumably, spending little time in their riding before now.
Some suggest Clark’s focus is on South Surrey’s three ridings – Surrey-Cloverdale, Surrey-White Rock and Surrey-Panorama – where each of her BC Liberals earned more votes than all challengers combined (60.05, 58.58 and 54.28 per cent, respectively).
Any of these three, however, would mean Clark would be willing to unseat individuals with whom voters have formed a relationship over time (Cloverdale’s Stephanie Cadieux has served in Clark’s and her predecessor’s cabinets; White Rock’s long-serving Gordon Hogg is a former cabinet minister, city councillor and mayor; and Panorama’s Marvin Hunt first ran for public office 30 years ago, serving as a Surrey councillor for most of that time).
One can only imagine voters’ reaction if Clark tried to strong-arm her way in, even if the chosen candidate shamelessly tries to convince us she/he is on board.
Note, while some may have voted for the winning candidate solely because of Clark’s leadership, a great many more did so because they feared a left-leaning government – for them, the greater of two evils.
Now that this fear has evaporated, these votes, too, are up in the air.