As expected, Christie Clark’s team didn’t win, so she quit the game and went home, solidifying her name in posterity as the least effective premier the province has seen in the last 50 years. Note I don’t say the worst. She was far too inept to do a whole lot of damage. She committed the single standout political act of her career during her tenure as Education Minister, antagonizing the most powerful union in the province by summarily breaking their honestly bargained contract, throwing the education system into limbo and a decade-long court case that she eventually lost.
Other than that, she coasted for six years at the helm, chanting her only mantra, “jobs, jobs, jobs,” (a thinly veiled excuse for the long-discredited trickle-down economic theory) and her penchant for basking in the glow of megaprojects, none of which have ever come to fruition. My greatest delight of all is that, should the Site C Dam ever come to pass, at least the province will not be blessed with a “Christie Clark Lake,” as has happened with past megaprojectomaniacs from the right side of the political spectrum. Nor are we likely to see a “Christie Clark Bridge” over the Fraser, if such a new structure is ever built. Naming a natural gas plant after her would have been more appropriate, but that’s looking more and more like a no-go as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m much happier to have a government that does very little, because that means they do little harm. As opposed, for example, to her predecessor, who thought he could rule with impunity and did so with great autocracy, breaking or bending parliamentary procedures at will.
So here’s to the one-hit wonder, the poster girl for business: a fake liberal who did little to actually help the conservative cause. Although I suppose one might argue that, since the objective of the conservative is to prevent change, six years of doing absolutely nothing is a right-wing triumph. Of course, then you must disregard the suffering, loss, and waste of human resources caused by a lack of progress in social services and by stagnation in education. But conservatives ignore those as a matter of principal.
Ms. Clark’s whole reign rested on a single lucky break in an election where a waffling opponent handed her the win on a platter, and she just kept the public appearances rolling from there. I hope she continues to be successful in the entertainment business where she belongs, where appearance is everything and substance is unnecessary.
Let’s look on the bright side. History tells us that electing entertainers to top political positions is not good for democracy. Every time the electorate makes the mistake of falling for a public relations expert who can’t come through on the management side, there is a chance for electors to learn, so such an event doesn’t happen in the future.
Let that be Christie’s legacy: a cautionary tale encouraging us to look more carefully for actual ability in those we elect.