Christy Clark’s campaign lacks openness

This has become all too common in political campaigns, with the front–runners often opting out of the unscripted all–candidates meetings to avoid any negative publicity their policies might generate.

Christy Clark faces a crucial by-election in British Columbia this week. Clark is leader of the BC Liberal party, premier of the province of B.C., but she doesn’t have a seat in the legislature. On Wednesday, voters in Vancouver-Point Grey will decide if she will be taking a seat in the B.C. legislature in time to debate the budget for the premier’s office. There hasn’t been a government-won by-election in 30 years, yet she is considered to be the front runner going into this race. The NDP is fielding David Eby, former executive director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association until he stepped aside to run for the party.

This campaign has largely been run under the radar due to its running concurrently with the federal election and competing with hockey play–offs.

The by-election’s single biggest point of controversy however was generated because Clark declared herself too busy to attend all-candidates’ meetings.

This has become all too common in political campaigns, with the front–runners often opting out of the unscripted all–candidates meetings to avoid any negative publicity their policies might generate.

This strategy has been proving very effective in recent elections, with the negative attention received considered worth it when weighed against the unknown possibilities of a candidate’s possible missteps.

Of course this leaves the electorate often feel taken for granted and does not allow voters, who have not made up their minds, the opportunity to see the various candidates in action.

For Clark the hardest part of this tactic has been convincing voters that this does not contradict her promises of openness and accessibility.

Of course a promise of the most open government in Canada was one of former Premier Gordon Campbell’s many promises, so it is interesting that Clark is recycling that lofty claim, particularly since part of what drove Campbell from office was the perception that his government was anything but open. With the HST still looming over Clark’s head, it will be interesting to see if the voters of Vancouver–Point Grey simply hand Clark the win she is taking for granted, or take a stand for an open and accountable candidate.

– Merritt Herald