Opinion

Christy Clark by the Numbers

How does British Columbia's new premier add up so far?

By Bill Tieleman, 19 Jul 2011, TheTyee.ca

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Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

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"Becoming number one is easier than remaining number one." -- former basketball star Bill Bradley

How does Christy Clark add up as British Columbia's new premier? Here are all the numbers you need to decide.

0: Number of debates Clark accepted with political opponents. She turned down a debate with New Democrat leader Adrian Dix on the Harmonized Sales Tax and at least two debates with Vancouver-Point Grey NDP candidate David Eby in the May byelection campaign.

1: B.C. Liberal MLAs who supported Clark's leadership bid. Backbencher Harry Bloy got his reward -- a cabinet job at last.

2: Positions Clark took on the Metro Vancouver mayors' proposed two cent a litre gas tax to pay for the Evergreen Line and transit improvements. First she said it wasn't a good idea -- but then it was.

"When British Columbians say that they're not really excited about paying more gas taxes, I get that. Because my focus as premier is how do we make life more affordable for people, rather than less affordable," Clark said on July 11.

But by July 13, Clark was back onboard the bus, and Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom was cleaning up her flip-flop.

"I can't speak for the premier. What I can speak to is the fact that I've spoken with the premier about this and I talked to her about the comments she made," Lekstrom said. "We're very clearly on the same page."


3: Positions Clark held on the HST. First, it was to take a free vote in the legislature on the HST to kill it, then to hold a binding referendum without changing the 12 per cent rate, then to change the rate.

"We aren't going to be talking about trying to reduce it by a point or two before the referendum. I mean, I think people will see that as buying them with their own money," Clark said in March.

Then Clark promised in May she would reduce the rate by one point to 11 per cent in 2012 and a further point to 10 per cent in 2014.

4: Months Clark has been premier.

4: Days Clark has spent in the B.C. legislature as premier.

22: Months until Clark faces voters under the province's fixed election date of May 14, 2013 -- unless she scraps the law and calls an early ballot.

3,000 to 12,000: Scalper market dollar value range for two free tickets Clark was given to attend the final game of Stanley Cup playoffs by Vancouver Canucks' owner Francesco Aquilini. Face value was in the hundreds of dollar per ticket and the gift was cleared by the province's conflict of interest commissioner.

20,000: Dollars given to Clark's leadership campaign by BC Liberal backroom operative and registered lobbyist Patrick Kinsella's Progressive Group. Kinsella's wife Brenda also donated $3,000.

25,000: Dollars donated to Clark's campaign by Aquilini's development and construction company.

50,000: Dollars given to Clark's campaign by developer Wall Financial Corporation and owners Peter and Bruno Wall.

324,000: Number of Google search hits linking "Christy Clark" with "Vancouver Canucks".

199,000: Google search hits linking "Christy Clark" with "Twitter".

38,000: Hits linking "Christy Clark" with "B.C. Rail".

6,140: Hits linking "Christy Clark" with "photo op".

4,880: Hits linking "Christy Clark" with "flip flop".

2,080: Hits linking "Christy Clark" with "education policy".

979: Hits linking "Christy Clark" with "economic strategy".

113,000: Number of extra jobs the HST would create in 10 years according to a B.C. government-commissioned report by economist Jack Mintz.

24,400: Extra jobs the government-appointed "Independent Panel" of experts said the Harmonized Sales Tax would create by 2020.

9,400: Number of jobs actually lost in B.C. in June 2011, one year after HST implemented, according to Statistics Canada.

7.3: Percentage of British Columbians unemployed in June, higher than all western provinces without the HST -- Saskatchewan 4.9 per cent, Manitoba 5.5 per cent and Alberta 5.6 per cent.

So there you have it, B.C.'s new premier by the numbers.

The question is, when the next election is called, will Christy Clark's number be up?  [Tyee]

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