As Christy Clark prepares to be sworn in as B.C.’s 35th premier later this month, she must be reminded she is succeeding Gordon Campbell because of three letters: HST.
Without the hated tax being sprung on voters immediately after the B.C. Liberals won the May 2009 election, Premier Gordon Campbell would still be in power and Clark would still be sitting in the studio at CKNW.
When Clark did enter the leadership race (not long after claiming to have no interest in the contest), she didn’t waste time offering differing views on the fate of the HST.
Dec. 8, Clark announced her candidacy. Hours later, she attended a rally in Pitt Meadows and called for the HST referendum to be killed in favour of a free vote in the legislature among MLAs.
Doing so, Clark said, would save the province the estimated $30 million it would cost to conduct the referendum.
“Let our MLAs do their jobs and let our MLAs vote down the HST,” Clark told the 40 people who attended that first-day leadership rally.
“Do it by March 31 and get it over with and get on with life in B.C.”
Furthermore, as reported by the Maple Ridge News, Clark said some, if not all, Liberal MLAs would vote down the HST — perhaps even Terry Lake and Kevin Krueger.
“MLAs are not going to pass it in the legislature in a genuinely free vote,” Clark said only 84 days ago.
“Those MLAs all have to go out and get elected. They are not going to vote against their constituents.”
That position changed on Feb. 2, only 30 days ago, when Clark said the HST should go to a referendum, but that it should be held June 24, three months ahead of the original Sept. 24 date as mandated by legislation.
Independent MLA for Cariboo North Bob Simpson has noted Clark’s lack of clarity on the HST issue, adding “there’s a lot we need to know.”
Given Clark’s indecisiveness on the issue in the span of less than two months, Lake might just get a reprieve — after all, there are 114 days between now and June 24.