It’s All Over for Clark/Liberals

Congratulations, Premier Dix.  The second and final leaders’ debate in the 2013 provincial election wasn’t even half over, and I could see that Clark had blown it: same old, same old … even though the polls, including one released a few hours before the tv debate,  have shown the Liberal 1990-s attack style campaign strategy has NOT been working.

And then there were her gaffes:

“You would take the money from the many to spend it on the few,” Clark spat at NDP Leader Adrian Dix.  And who were “the few” she was talking about? Kids living in poverty!!! What kind of a politician ,let alone a premier, would dismiss a question on why BC has the worst child poverty record in Canada (or second worst, depending on who you believe)  by marginalising poor children as “the few” and clearly not as important as “the many” … those of us enjoying the better life?? Yikes!

And that wasn’t all.

The Liberal leader, in a carefully scripted attack point,  suggested an NDP government would “rob Peter to pay Paul” as opposed to the Liberal plan to provide jobs for  “both Peter and Paul”.

But the punch-line, which actually made me laugh out loud, came several minutes later, when Dix, noting since 2011, BC has lost 34,800 jobs.  “Neither Peter nor Paul are working!” Dix delivered. Clearly ready for not only Premier, but The Tonight Show too.

And to his credit, the NDP leader answered clearly “Yes” when asked if he would favour decriminalization of marijuana possession, while Clark slid around the question and did NOT answer.

The Liberal Leader did score points, I thought, on the Kinder Morgan question, Dix’s handling of the issue, his other candidates stances on the matters of not only pipelines, but fracking and coastal traffic.

But they key here is that, a poll released just hours before the tv debate, reported the NDP  still maintained a 22 per cent LEAD over the Liberals: so Clark had to not only EQUAL Dix in their face to face battle, but actually TOP him by a huge amount to have a chance at keeping her job.  She did not.

And what was different here, in the tv debate, is that … unlike the radio debate last week … the two other leaders, John Cummins of the Conservatives and Jane Sterk of the Green Party were just bit players in the real dogfight.  They both nipped at the heels and occasionally made it up to the ankles of the two major combatants, but even then, they seemed to challenge and cause more discomfort to Clark for her government’s record, lack of accomplishment and credibility than Dix.

The key for the NDP leader, though, is that Dix was NOT scary.  (Which, of course, means he really is not …or is doing a great job of hiding it!)

A little nervous in the beginning, but even on the question of his own discredited actions that cost him his job in the 90s while working for then-premier Glen Clark,  Dix did not skate around … admitted his mistakes (at age 35) and said he had learned from them …and that’s why he has avoided attacking others with negative ads.  His handling of that may even have turned a potential campaign negative into a positive.

Clark simply need to shine … and did  not.  So much for her being “a great communicator”.

Barring any “late-breaking news” it’s all over but the voting.

And then Adrian Dix will be BC’s new premier.

Harv Oberfeld


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26 Responses to It’s All Over for Clark/Liberals

  1. Miffed says:

    Found the contrast interesting. Dix mostly spoke about specifics while Clark would mostly repeat the tired generic pap that she has been trying to sell. Sterk and Cumming clearly demonstrated that they weren’t ready for prime time. I was wondering how Dix would handle the issue about the memo and I can’t think of a better response.

  2. RossK says:

    Not only did Ms. Clark slide around and not answer the legalization question, she also prefaced her prevarication by attacking Mr. Dix for answering the question clearly and unequivocally.

    Of course, the great irony in this little back and forth is that, as Tom Hawthorn pointed out on the Twittmachine, legalizing and regulating pot really would grow the economy – and much much faster than would/will LNG.


  3. d. mackenzie says:

    Excellent summary by an experienced political watcher. Thanks. I could not believe how many times she did not answer the question and why is it that everyone was so polite with her? I hope Clark also loses her seat in Point Grey, my riding.

  4. workforfun says:

    I too watched the “debate” and don’t think I heard Clark actually answer a question properly !

    I think Clark showed for all to see, just how ill equiped she is for premier – in fact she is a fool that happens to be a fast talker is all.

    I think Dix and the BC NDP should be the next government for British Columbia, all being well.

  5. Doug says:

    So what now for CC? Will she just bide her time and coast for the next 2 weeks or will she decide in the interests of her son to pull out? Surely she can’t believe she won the debate?

    IMO I think Cummins & Sterk will bleed votes from the libs.

    (Response: In the weird world of the strategists who surround Clark, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re toasting her terrific performance! As for Cummins/Sterk, I think they will both retain their stalwart followers, but would each consider it a victory if they won ONE seat. h.o)

  6. Sue Stroud says:

    I think you nailed it Harvey. I also thought it was interesting that Jane Sterk directed her questions at Clark rather than Dix, I felt she was afraid to give him an opening to show just how reasonable and thoughtful his positions are. I liked Dix using his first leader to leader question on Cummins, this gave Dix the perfect opportunity to reply in detail giveing NDP policy, very smart. The greens can help us all by pushing the environmental agenda, but they will never form government because they fail to address any other issues. Candidate in my riding, when asked about issues facing families said “We have to remove the stress families are facing.” That was it, not a word about how or when or what or how much. I;m finding the Greens basically compassionless, if they cared they’d have developed policy on these issues by now, they’ve been around a long time. Instructive too that tonight MP Elizabeth May who’s been getting free ride from most media voted against the Federal NDP’s climate change motion. Doesn’t make sense unless she’s making background deals, even if she thought it wasn’t strong enough she should have voted for it, she could have propsed amendments to strengthen it or put in her own motion after, but she should have voted for it today no question.

    (Response: Might be worth going to the BC Greens website…they have more about their platform on there. But I find what they say there to be actually unrealistic or even frightening in how they would impact most people’s daily lives. Maybe that’s why they just talk apple pie generalities in public debates etc.. h.o)

  7. crh says:

    I don’t think the Lib vote is going to bleed any more after tonight’s performances by Cummins and Sterk. The Libs are at the point of their base being terrified at losing and will pull out all the stops to get out their voters.

    (Response: They’ll get their base…and those who mightedly fear the NDP. But I don’t believe that will be enough to beat them this time. h.o)

  8. Larry Bennett says:

    Looks like I didn’t miss much; I’m sure there will be replays; not sure I’m interested. On the question of legalization, I just read an article somewhere that claims the Netherlands are regretting ever having done so, and are looking for a way out!
    That said, if (or should I say when) Dix gets in, he still will have his own nasty bunch of back-biting members to deal with. There are none nastier. I think Cummins made a big mistake in getting rid of some of his people, because I get a feeling some of them will win as independents.

    (Response: Dix will do little or nothing on marijuana …at least not in a first term. h.o)

  9. SunWuKong says:

    Is it possible the Liberal strategy has been for these past few weeks to “place” rather than “win”?

    In other words, with no chance of forming the next government, make sure they’re the official and only opposition so as to deny air to the Conservatives?

    (Response: I doubt it. No party in power wants to come second …esp when it’s looking like the provincial Conservatives, once again, are failing to capture as much support as it looked they could only months ago. h.o)

  10. 13 says:

    I guess its all in your preconcieved ideas. I thought that before the debate the liberals would lose and the debate didnt change anything. Just on the TV debate I think Clark was the best speaker , Dix was a solid second and the green third and Cummins last. Cummins constantly lost his train of thought and had to desperately check his notes to get back on track.
    For the two years that Clark has been premier she has been given the worst advice ever. From not calling a snap election and dumping the HST to the current election platform of balanced budgets and evil NDP.
    Is it to early to speculate who will be the leader of the opposition?

    (Response: I agree. I don’t know who is advising her…but in my experience, ANY strategists noticing in the polls a couple of weeks into a campaign that their move/ads are no working should be smart enough to change things. Maybe they have no other ideas. h.o)

  11. BillyP says:

    Just once, I wish a moderator would hold the answers to questions posed as actual answers , not some lame deflection or spin in another direction. I should sue them all for the waste of my time. On the bright side I can now replay it over and fertilize a few hundred acres.

    (Response: I often find myself frustrated when ANY moderator or reporter FAILS to say (as I often used to do) “But you’re not answering the question!”. You can’t force them to answer, but the reminder registers BIG TIME with the listeners, viewers. Of course, you can’t push them too far ..over and over..because they you look like a bully and the audience can actually gain sympathy for those you’re “attacking”. But any senior reporter or moderator should know when and how to do it. h.o)

  12. D. M. Johnston says:

    We all know that Dix will win, even a fence-post with hair could beat Premier photo-op and her band of brigands. The real question is; “how many seats will the opposition get?”

    I 2 or 3 seat rump will be an unmitigated disaster for the province, just as the 2001 2 seat opposition rump was.

    I think this election is so ho-hum that voter turnout will be an issue, as for many, there is no candidate of choice in their riding.

    The real election will take place in 2017, unless the law is changed, as this election is seen by many as brand change only, with no real difference between the two political parties, as who ever wins must increase taxes and user fees to fund politically prestigious government projects.

    The real losers will be the taxpayers.

  13. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Someone is jacking up the BC Lib scores at the end of this article. Readers here might want to make a correction — though if it’s like the NW polls, you can vote multiple times by clearing your memory.

  14. Kreditanstalt says:

    Admittedly the current government is awful…though the other parties are likely to be no improvement.

    Soon the small-“l” liberal media, “progressive” types and urban literati won’t have Clark to kick around any more.

    The question we should all be asking is: When Dix is – as is certain – unable to reward all HIS clients, will they start criticising him too?

    I bet not.

    (Response: Well, apart from the CBC, the media are ALL owned by millionaires and huge corporations, whose executives and top managers are sure not NDPers. So I expect the opposite of what you suggest will actually happen: the media will “boost” their attention, focus and even increase/change staffing covering Victoria and BC government actions … shining a more critical light on the NDP than they have on the Liberals. h.o)

  15. kootcoot says:

    If last night’s debate had been held in a courtroom, every time Christy opened her mouth a lawyer for one of the others would have jumped up and objected that her “answer” was non-responsive to the question at hand.

    Though I doubt Jennifer Burke had any way to actually make CC answer a question, I thought she did a good job of keeping the candidates in line and managing the time.

    Each of the other three, Sterk, Cummins and Dix actually answered questions, but for Christy they could just as well have sent a cardboard Christy with a tape loop of the usual talking point lies.

    (Response: It is very difficult for a moderator in a debate to challenge a leader with “you’re not answering the question.” The other leaders did point it out occasionally, but I think they should have done it more …much more … to focus the viewers’ attention on the avoidance tactic. h.o)

  16. Scotty on Denman says:

    I saw trends being affirmed. Most improved: John Cummins who articulated clearly and wasn’t attacked much by the others. Greens probably came out worse (affirming their downward trend) even though Jane Sterk was barely attacked at all; neither was she very aggressive. Christy and Jane made nice toward each other as did Dix with Cummins, not surprising since both small parties split the bigger parties’ respective votes; it was a bit surprising Dix didn’t attack the Greens–only once, I think. Christy, of course, spent about 20% of her ammo on the Conservatives, the spoiler on her right. She was also, not surprisingly, the target of the other three, enduring criticisms effectively listed by all of them. She unfortunately confirmed many of those criticisms by contending accepted facts and evasively changing topic several times to reiterate BC Liberal attack ad blather, effectively underscoring one of her greatest weaknesses: dishonesty. Again she exacerbated her low standing with women voters by condescending remarks and an eyebrow raising insinuation that impoverished children, if they exist…and of course we should do everything we can to help if they do…are really an expensive elite class; boy, talk about screwing up your basic motherhood issue, especially after having to waste a bunch of debating time explaining why she endangered her own son’s safety by purposely running a red light just to show off to a reporter. Jeez! She used the word “I” incessantly, even to the extent of describing her manipulative, faux opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline by saying, ” I didn’t see another Premier elected from British Columbia [at the bargaining table]. Ooooh…dumb quip, Christy, you never were elected Premier, way to remind everybody. Jeez! She talked as if she singlehandedly calls the shots at BC Hydro and claimed that sticking to her principles (tattered as they were continuing to look) is the way to protect our coast line from oil spills. Self-important much? She effectively accentuated the negative.

    Dix articulated well and, perhaps coincidentally, worked the clock to his advantage, often leaving his target without enough time to respond to riveting lists of transgressions. His defence of the supposed “flip-flop” on KM was effective: he clarified his position because an election was called; why wouldn’t we talk about it during
    the campaign? Good one, A.

    So it remains steady as she goes for now.

  17. DonGar says:

    Great to hear you on the radio this morning with Alex. Hopefully we will hear some more during the election run.

    (Response: It was a morning request from Alex and I was happy to oblige. Hope he does well with the show. By the way, if I had known yesterday, would have alerted blog readers. h.o)

  18. The Bon says:

    I wish they had talked about the contractual debt the Liberals have saddled BC taxpayers with – I understand it is north of 90 billion! Plus the known debt (I understand is approx 70 billion) puts us in debt more than 160 billion! Prudent financial managers??? Also, how do you feel about Pavco chair and Liberal candidate Peter Fassbender signing a 99 year lease to Paragon Gaming to build a casino beside BC Place just recently? And the silence of the media on it? I haven’t read anything in the Province newspaper or seen anything on the news (I boycott Global, but watch CTV). Is this not another failure of our news in BC?

  19. Ed Seedhouse says:

    (Response: Well, apart from the CBC, the media are ALL owned by millionaires and huge corporations, whose executives and top managers are sure not NDPers. So I expect the opposite of what you suggest will actually happen: the media will “boost” their attention, focus and even increase/change staffing covering Victoria and BC government actions … shining a more critical light on the NDP than they have on the Liberals. h.o)

    Right on the money Harv! You nailed it. I have already warned the folks in the N.D.P. Riding executive I sit on and our sitting MLA (who is going to retain her seat I’m pretty sure) about this quite a few months ago, and the response is that the folks in the upper echelons of the party are well aware that it is coming. I think they are.

    I hope they have a plan in place to combat it (without, of course, ever infringing on the presses rights). That will be crucial in the first few months of an N.D.P. government.

    (Response: But of course, none of that is to suggest that ANY government shouldn’t have a LOT of scrutiny when it has Billions of public money to spend ..and lots of friends and supporters looking for some of it! But it sure won’t be made EASIER for the NDP because of ‘liberal’ or leftist media types. After all, they do have bosses! h.o)

  20. Ed Seedhouse says:

    (Response: But of course, none of that is to suggest that ANY government shouldn’t have a LOT of scrutiny when it has Billions of public money to spend ..and lots of friends and supporters looking for some of it! But it sure won’t be made EASIER for the NDP because of ‘liberal’ or leftist media types. After all, they do have bosses! h.o)

    You are perfectly right about that, of course.

    It’s great and good and necessary to hold the government responsible for it’s mistakes. And an NDP government, just like any other government, will make mistakes.

    The problem comes when anything the least bit controversial is pumped up to sound like looming disaster for the entire province. And you know, I am sure, that this happens, especially when a corporate owned press is dealing with an even vaguely left of center government.

    This is bad for democracy because it tends to make governments hunker down and either do nothing because they are afraid of being criticized, or worse, being unable to see when the criticism is just and proper. When everything you do is criticized you don’t get the kind of feedback from the press you need to be able to correct your real mistakes.

    Every government makes mistakes, and most make stupid mistakes. I expect an NDP government certainluy do some of the former and may well do some of the latter. It goes along with being human beings instead of archangels, you know?

    The proper role of the press is to bring this to their attention when what is done really is an error. I fear the MSM will criticize everything the N.D.P. does and that alone will make harder for them to see when they really and truly have made a boner, and harder still for them to admit it and fix the situation.

    And I think it’s the main danger facing what I expect to be a large N.D.P. majority.

    On the other hand, whatever one thinks of Dix, he is *not* stupid. So I have some hope they’ll be able to avoid the worst traps.

    Time, as ever, will tell.

  21. Larry Bennett says:

    Harve I can’t recall who Jenny Kwan’s allies were in the “impeachment” of Carole James, can you? I recall Schreck and Ralston being shocked at her vindictiveness against Carole James’, and I recall myself being pleasantly impressed for the first time in my life of sensing a socialist woman who wasn’t a total harridan. I think the problem with Carole James was that she was actually quite understanding of others viewpoints, instead of the usual hate-fest. I recall working at Telus H.Q.’s and of her having a meeting with Mr. Entwistle but coming through the working and customer door. I assured her that the executive entrance on Robson would be the door she wanted, but her aid was adamant that it was the Seymour door. James quietly checked her diary and apologised and thanked us for being so helpful.
    Whose side was Dix on when all this occurred? Can you remember?

    (Response: I won’t tread into identifying people who took place in what you call “impeachment”. But maybe others with a better recall of the NDP’s internal political history will be willing to wade in. h.o)

  22. Paul says:

    Adrian Dix supported Carole James leadership and was NOT one of the 13 dissenting MLAs.

    Here’s a picture of Carole James and NDP MLA supporters (including Adrian Dix) on Thursday December 2, 2010

    (Response: Thanks. Interesting how people of the the blogosphere can provide responses so quickly to questions others have . h.o)

  23. 13 says:

    Ever wonder how Dix could replace James as NDP leader. I thought the last thing the NDP wanted were white men without any hyphenated add ons. Their policy is any women MLAs must be replaced with another women or some sort of minority.

  24. Larry Bennett says:

    Thanks Paul; this seems to explain why Ms Kwan had been so quiet throughout this campaign. I had forgotten all about her myself until I came across a brochure on a bus bench in Burnaby. Guess that if Adrian gets in she will be a shrinking violet (NOT!)

  25. The NDP, in turn, seized on a comment made by Clark last week during an all-leaders’ radio debate, when she was asked why her government cancelled funding to an arms-length body that conducted evaluations of drugs for PharmaCare.

  26. Rex Pierce says:

    VANCOUVER — B.C. Premier Christy Clark was attacked for everything from her government’s decision to bring in the hated HST to her early morning decision to run a red light in an all-candidates television debate Monday night.

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