B.C. Liberal Party candidate Christy Clark came to Prince Rupert on Thursday morning as the first stop on her tour of northern communities. Clark met with local Liberal Party members to outline why they should pick her to be the next Premier of British Columbia.
During her short meeting with local members, Clark made no promises aimed specifically at Prince Rupert. Instead, she presented herself as the only one of the current leadership candidates that would be able to lead a battered Liberal Party to victory in an election against the NDP, which she accuses of favoritism towards labour unions.
“I am the only candidate in this race that can win this next election, according to the public opinion polls. And I think that has to be a huge priority for all of us. We need to make sure we go into the election strong.”
“We don’t have the luxury of running against Cheech and Chong in this next election; they’re going to come out with a real candidate,” says Clark.
Unlike Kevin Falcon and Mike De Jong who have already held town-hall meetings with northern members, Clark clearly has a clear position on when that election should be. Despite her support for B.C.’s fixed election dates, she says that waiting until 2013 is too long for a Premier to be sitting without an elected mandate, and promised to hold an election sometime after the HST referendum this fall.
“[We never thought that we’d have a situation where] the Premier would be chosen by 50,000 people who all paid $10 for the privilege (membership fee), and might be able to sit in office for over two, two-and-a-half years before they go and ask British Columbians for the privilege to sit there,” says Cark.
Clark also promises that if she becomes Premier she will raise the minimum wage, not all at once and not to $10 an hour as some are suggesting. This drew the scorn of one party member in the room who told her that by raising in it at all, she may as well be running for the NDP.
She also promised caucus reform where MLAs will be given greater freedom to do their jobs, even if that means they publicly disagree with party positions.
“This is why they run for office: to represent their communities in Victoria. Even if that means sometimes they respectfully disagree with what the government is pursuing. Why would you bother voting for your MLA if you didn’t think they would represent your concerns for you.”