Editorial — Clark moves cautiously

Premier-elect Christy Clark visited Langley on Friday night. She appeared at the reception which kicked off Langley MLA Mary Polak’s annual Spring Fling, a fundraiser for the BC Liberal Party.

It was a smart move on Clark’s part to visit Langley. She was the only leadership candidate to make a stop in Langley during the sign-up portion of the campaign, and she is also a bit of an unknown factor to many BC Liberal party members.

The gathering, which attracted about 300 party faithful, was a great opportunity for her to meet some of  those supporters and demonstrate her ability to connect with people — something she is clearly good at.

Her visit to the event was a hit with those in attendance, and it marked yet another step in the most important job she has to do. That job is to unite the BC Liberals behind her leadership, and take a united party forward as government, and into an election.

On Monday, Clark stated that she expects there will be an election before the May, 2013 date mandated by the province’s fixed election law. There is some logic in this, as she has no mandate from the people of B.C. to bring forward any major changes.

Fixed election dates are a good thing. They take away the power of calling an election at the time which is best for an incumbent premier.However, there is also merit in a new premier (and new NDP leader) presenting themselves to voters for  judging — sooner rather than later.

Clark has, for the most part, avoided extensive media interviews since her selection as BC Liberal leader. This is also a smart move. She is busy studying transition documents, evaluating senior civil servants and, most importantly, deciding on the makeup of her cabinet. All these things require careful reflection and deliberation, and can’t be done while juggling a full interview schedule.

She also has avoided making pronouncements which may end up conflicting with one another, as happened with Bill Vander Zalm when he was first named Social Credit leader in 1986.

Some of those pronouncements ended up costing him dearly, as cabinet ministers often had no idea which direction the government was heading. This eventually led to a lack of confidence in his leadership, and the eventual demise of both the government and the Social Credit Party.

Clark seems to be avoiding that mine field, thus far.

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