Clark and the Zipper

So we have a new Premier.

I am pretty non-partisan. I think more on issues than I do on party affiliation. I had quite a few discussions around the Liberal Leadership Race with friends over the last few weeks, and as it became more and more a two-horse race, the question to me always came down to: is the Devil you know better or worse than the devil you don’t?

Kevin Falcon is a free-market ideologue who loved to build highways like that was some sort of transportation policy. I disagree with Falcon on almost every single policy issue, but at least I know where he is coming from. As Hunter Thompson once said of Nixon: “As long as Nixon was politically alive… we could always be sure of finding the enemy on the Low Road. There was no need to look anywhere else for the evil bastard.”

But Christy Clark is a different animal. It isn’t the lack of caucus support of the lack of a seat in the house that make he similar to Vander Zalm, it is the poorly defined populist agenda that makes her essentially a random-number generator on policy. She is the devil few of us really know.

He campaign never resulted in a clear picture where she saw the province going. The only strong policy positions she put out she almost immediately backed away from at the first hint if discord. Even her major pledge, to “support Families” is so pragmatically unspecific as to be irrelevant. Does supporting families mean encouraging responsible family planning through sex education in schools and support for Planned Parenthood, or does it mean letting parents decide when and how their kids learn about sex, and the prevention of all abortions? To know what “supporting Families” means, you have to look through your own filter. That is what makes it such good campaign rhetoric, but completely meaningless. It is like “supporting Healthcare” or, dare I say, “Sustainability”.

It suits, though. She has a record of pissing off teachers, which (by some definitions), is supporting families. She ostensibly left politics (coincidentally as the BC Rail scandal was scooping up those closest to her) to “be with her family”, then less than 6 months later decided to run for Mayor of a City in which she didn’t live. She just doesn’t seem to be consistent on anything.

I can’t help but think she is a lightweight . Her resume doesn’t mention if she has ever had a job that required her to balance a budget, or even run a payroll. There are mentions of three universities, but no evidence she got a degree from any of them. Take it from someone who served two contentious years on the Simon Fraser Student Society: the only thing you learn there is how to make a meeting go as slowly as possible while avoiding actually saying anything, or how you should never cross David Bowie Fans . Other than being the 5th or 6th most popular radio host in Vancouver, and the afore-mentioned pissing off teachers, what experience does she have in an executive position?

If she is trying to shake the Vander Zalm / Sarah Palin comparisons (looks good, not too smart, populist), it was probably not too wise to have her first post-convention press appearance, the day after being declared Premier Elect, while doing the “Hockey Mom” thing at her Kid’s game.

Rafe Mair (once again) summed up the Liberal Convention speeches this morning on CBC Radio: Abbot looked like a doctor delivering some bad news, DeJong like a lawyer for the defence, arguing a case he knew was already lost, Falcon like a guy selling a really good used car, and Clark like the lady from the Welcome Wagon. Zing.

Anyway, all of this is a lead-up to a co-worker’s story I heard today. He is an extremely reliable source. He drives in every day from North Vancouver, and has to manage the “zipper” at the north end of the Lions Gate. In the morning, that means the two lanes from West Van merge in to the right lane, and the two lanes from North Van merge into the centre lane. Never the twain do meet. But this morning, a silver Jetta did the unthinkable: coming up the left of the two lanes from West Van, it got to the merge zone, and instead of merging right…it stuck on it’s left signal and forced itself, illogically, into the centre lane! My co-worker was considering giving the driver the bird (as Zipper decorum would require), but couldn’t see through the back window as the Jetta’s back seat was full or cello-wrapped humungous flower arrangements. Once the Jetta got caught behind a bus on Georgia, my friend pulled up beside to throw a now-belated stink-eye, only to see Christy Clark! Once he regained his composure, he was going to wave at the next stoplight, but she was busy applying her eye makeup. Whether she was driving with a trunk full of gifts from well-wishers, or dropping gifts to those who supported her is unknown… but she has to think about delegating the running-around-with-flowers tasks if she is going to run the province.

However, perhaps we should take this as an omen. Given the option of safely staying in the right position, Clark chose to veer left, taking a risk to bully her way to the middle. She even ran a higher risk of a head-on collision over there in the middle, but she boldly blasted on, and never looked back. Or maybe I am reading too much into it.

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