23 July 1999
Shuffling Clark's Grip on Power - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
B.C. Premier Glen Clark is in it deep. Really deep. At a record low in the polls, the NDP government is drowning in its own lake of mismanagement and red ink. The NDP had it real bad in 1996, after Mike Harcourt resigned, but miraculously they were resurrected partly on the Liberals running a losing campaign. The NDP made it then and they could make it again if an election were to be called today, yeah right. Glen Clark has been marred by his own doings over the last six months or so. Scandals from court tampering, fudget budgets, a house deck built by some guy named Pilarinos and the list goes on. Forget the spin, for nine consecutive budgets the Province has seen deficits and that only adds to their problems. Right after the adjournment of an eventful Legislature, one of Clark’s strongest ministers resigned. Joy MacPhail made headlines with her resignation from the Finance portfolio and in doing so reaffirmed her lack of confidence in Glen Clark’s leadership. Then 2 more resignations were to come in the next couple of days, and to fill the void made by MacPhail, he appoints Gordon Wilson to the Finance portfolio, some aren’t even comfortable with the fact that he’s part of the NDP now. Wednesday, Clark shuffled his cabinet making it bigger, booting Cathy MacGregor, stroking Moe’s (Sihota) ego, creating half ass portfolio’s, and giving two of his dissidents cabinet appointments.
Perhaps the only bright spot throughout this affair is A-G Ujjal Dosanjh. Many are touting him to becoming leader. If the NDP made the change in leadership to Dosanjh, they’d could do a hell of a lot worse. Dosanjh is not a politician to be intimidated. He booted former Premier Dave Barrett from his office after Barrett tried to lobby for his support to support Clark. He’s no-nonsense and he’s tough and as I said the NDP would be better off putting him in as leader. But, as we saw earlier this year when Glen Clark managed to woo, and at the same time destroy the PDA, Gordon Wilson, he looks like the man Clark and Co. want as his successor. Wilson is a good politician, but he needs has a necessity for the reigns of power. He started his career as a Liberal and took the Liberals from extinction to where it is today. After his eventful affair with now-wife Judi Tyabji, he was dumped in favor of Gordon Campbell and started his own party, The PDA. So, Wilson hops to the NDP, and upsets the grassroots, now if Clark goes and he gets to choose his successor, its Wilson. The recent cabinet shuffle gives Clark a bigger cabinet, but also more ministers to give him support. He dumped MacGregor, but kept Dosanjh, Penny Priddy and Corky Evans, because if he touched any one of them it’d turn into war.
Glen Clark looks safe for now. A stress on for now, because if the economy doesn’t do a somersault for the better, if his approval ratings stay the same and if he stays on as leader into the next election, the B.C. New Democratic Party will go deep into history, much like the Socreds and the Federal Tories. They have to get a good new leader, someone who can do the job and not appease the situation. Glen, forget about leaving B.C. a legacy like the ones W.A.C. Bennett left us, he’s dead and if you don’t go so will your party. And if you don’t act now history will look more favorably on Bill Vander Zalm rather than you, you are in it deep, very deep.
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