Clark acclaimed as Liberal candidate in Vancouver-Point Grey
B.C. premier will face NDP candidate David Eby and the Green party’s Françoise Raunet in May 11 byelection
At a slick nomination meeting Tuesday night — complete with large-screen TVs showing the Canucks playoff game, professional lighting, a stage and a booming speaker system playing thumping techno music — a grinning Clark greeted hundreds of supporters standing shoulder to shoulder at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House community centre.
The event was in sharp contrast to the modest New Democratic Party nomination meeting Monday night at the same centre, where David Eby was acclaimed the NDP candidate.
Clark, who is without a seat in the provincial legislature, will now battle Eby, a popular civil rights activist, in a May 11 byelection.
Also nominated to run in the byelection is Vancouver school board employee Françoise Raunet, representing the Green Party of B.C.
As Clark took to the stage, she first acknowledged her supporters’ disappointment over the Canucks’ loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Don’t worry, she told them, the next game will be in Vancouver and “guess who’s going to win?” The crowd erupted in thunderous applause.
The premier praised the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, where she said she used to bring her son for after-school care when he started kindergarten.
Emphasizing her ties to the community, she also told the crowd her nine-year-old son goes to school next door and that she worked as the centre’s vice-chair for a number of years.
“This is a place where in times of crisis we can come for support,” she said, adding that government should work like a neighbourhood house does.
“Government should strive to be there when you are in a time of crisis. Government should strive to connect us in a way it never has before so we can talk to each other and understand each other’s stories.”
Repeating her campaign slogan of change, Clark listed her recent government initiatives, including restoring money for charities, reviewing BC Hydro rates, imposing stiffer penalties for animal cruelty and raising the minimum wage.
Attacking the NDP, she said voting for the party would be like going back to a time when B.C. was a have-not province.
“Maybe there’s some comfort in that. At least you know what it is like. You know what it is like to go around the province and see empty storefronts, and you know what it’s like to see your kids, when they graduate from UBC, go off and find a job in another province. You know what it’s like when your business can’t make it because your margins are so tight because the government is taxing you out of business and forcing you to close your doors.”
On Monday, Eby took aim at Clark’s record on the environment, particularly her decision to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reverse a federal environmental assessment turning down the Prosperity Mine project near Williams Lake. The project would have seen Fish Lake destroyed and turned into a tailings pit.
Clark fired back at Eby Tuesday, saying his criticisms were “a little rich” given that he’s running for a party that opposed the Liberals’ carbon tax initiative and the Clean Energy Act.
Clark left politics six years ago, returning last year to run for the leadership of the Liberals after Campbell announced he was stepping down. She was elected party leader Feb. 26.