Christy Clark's Very Bad Day
by Damien Gillis - The Canadian.org
They say bad things come in threes.
For BC Premier Christy Clark, today's series of gaffes perfectly confirm that theory.
Just when her campaign was gaining ground - with new polls showing a much-narrowed 4-7 point gap between the Liberals and front-running BCNDP - Clark's "Debt Free BC" campaign bus has hit a few nasty speed bumps.
First, there was the leak by her opponents of documents allegedly revealing more evidence of tax dollars being spent on campaign activities, as early as 2011. According to the CBC, who broke the story early this morning, "The NDP says the emails it has leaked show a team of B.C. Liberal insiders — Dave Ritchie, Kim Haakstad, Trevor Halford and others — were having meetings about the by-election in Port Moody and preparations to strengthen the current Liberal campaign during regular business hours at the office of team leader Dave Richie: Room 247 in the main legislature."
If true, these actions would be in violation of the B.C. Public Service Act, which forbids conducting partisan activities with public resources. The story comes on the heels of the "ethnic-gate" scandal, which involved similar dynamics and hamstrung the Liberals heading into the election campaign.
Next, there came news of Christy Clark's bewildering ballot-box mix-up, which saw her allegedly spoil her own vote at a photo-op. The National Post described the situation as follows:
Casting an advance ballot in her hometown of Burnaby in front of a throng of media and campaign staff on Wednesday, a confused Ms. Clark writes her own name on her ballot paper. But Ms. Clark doesn’t live in her own riding, a detail which would have rendered her vote invalid.
Quickly realizing the error, Ms. Clark asks for her ballot back. CBC footage shows Ms. Clark then writing down the name of Vancouver–Fairview Liberal candidate Margaret MacDiarmid, but failing to cross out her own name before submitting her ballot paper, leading to further confusion over the legitimacy of her vote.
Needless to say, harmless gaffe or not, the move hardly inspires confidence in a leader whose job demands being cool under pressure.
To cap it all off is the most serious and damaging of revelations for Clark on what has become a day from campaign hell. Global TV is reporting that a movement is underway within Clark's own party to overthrow her as soon as the ballot boxes close on Tuesday. "It’s called the 801 movement, symbolizing 8:01 p.m., one minute after the election and precisely when the movement plans to begin the process of putting pressure on Clark to step aside," Global reports.
"The movement — made up of party members and business leaders — has already created their own buttons."
It's no secret that Clark has never achieved widespread popularity within her own caucus, but surely this news breaking 5 days before the election can't benefit anyone in the Liberal Party. How will British Columbians feel about casting their ballot for a leader whose own party may be scheming to dump her? Maybe bad things do happen in threes...then again, as I write this early in the afternoon, there's plenty of time yet to make it four.