Premier Christy Clark returned to her former office Monday for a 90-minute session with CKNW radio host Bill Good, to discuss the B.C. government’s agenda for the spring session of the legislature and her crucial political year ahead.
In an opening statement, Clark hit the highlights of her 11 months in office such as a new federal shipbuilding contract and the first contracts for the Evergreen transit line in Metro Vancouver. There were references to cost-saving at BC Hydro and the recent addition of nine judges to the struggling court system, and swipes at the the NDP opposition, but no new policy announcements.
Clark hinted that once the legislature resumes its sitting Tuesday, the government will reveal new steps in the transition away from the harmonized sales tax. She also referred to new “seniors agenda,” to be revealed this week.
A few callers were able to question Clark. She told one that there is no new money this year to support increased child care subsidies, and reiterated her position that teachers and other government unions will not get new money for raises this year.
Another wanted to know when by-elections will be held in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope, to replace retired B.C. Liberal MLAs Iain Black and Barry Penner. Clark would only say “soon,” and indicated there will be more retirements from the government benches before the next election in May 2013.
NDP leader Adrian Dix responded to the radio show by highlighting the use of “political” government ads to promote its job strategy and reply to teacher demands, some of which ran during Clark’s appearance.
Dix declined to say how he would vote on back-to-work legislation for teachers, expected by the end of February.
Dix said Clark’s choice of a radio show rather than a statement in the legislature is one more step in the erosion of public support for government institutions.
“I understand that it’s stuffy and there are rules, but that’s what we are elected to do,” Dix said.