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Clark a no-show at major jobs and investment announcement

She has traveled the province as the cheerleader for her B.C. Jobs Plan. She took it to China and India, and the key theme of her premiership became one of the most intense domestic advertising campaigns of the last four months.

But Premier Christy Clark was absent from a glitzy March 2 news conference at Telus headquarters, where chief executive Darren Entwistle announced a $3 billion, three-year expansion and hiring of 1,300 people.

Entwistle ended his news conference by calling NDP leader Adrian Dix to join him onstage for a staged photograph.

Entwistle had just finished promoting his company's Internet TV, the $750 million downtown headquarters redevelopment and the lucrative venture to digitize health records. He even wiped tears from his eyes after showing a video about Telus's donations to community organizations and boldly labelled the province’s biggest private sector employer as "the backbone" of the economy. (He later admitted the 10-year, $1 billion government supply contract was a "key enabler.")

But Premier "Photo Op," as she has been called, was not there to claim any credit. Entwistle said he wasn't responsible for the invitation list, but politicians from both the Liberals and NDP were invited.

"We were pleased that Adrian could join us and see what I think was a seminal development in terms of B.C.," Entwistle said. "When an organization steps forward, particularly within the economic times that we're experiencing today globally, and says we're going to invest $3 billion in information technology in this province, which underpins the competitiveness of the province and social welfare of the province, I think it's a fantastic event, and I appreciate the people that showed up."

Joining Dix at the event were finance critic Bruce Ralston and tourism critic Spencer Chandra Herbert. The only Liberal MLA spotted was Colin Hansen, who was finance and Olympics minister under Gordon Campbell.

According to Elections B.C. records, Telus has donated $352,407.35 to the B.C. Liberals since 2005 and nothing to the NDP.

Veteran reporter Bob Mackin is a regular contributor to The Tyee.

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