By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 11, 1999
Glen Clark’s political demise is imminent
Thanks to the reluctant support of his caucus, it seems like British Columbia Premier Glen Clark has a brief reprieve from early retirement. No matter. There’s no graceful exit for the besieged NDP leader and his party. Popular support stands at about 17 per cent. The government is nearly out of money and needs to recall the legislature to present a budget. B.C.’s economy is on the skids. The diminutive, feisty premier is toast.For political reasons, Clark and his dwindling band of supporters decided the premier shouldn’t step aside right now. Politically, they may be right. To date, there is no hard evidence that Clark was involved in anything serious enough to require his resignation. Quitting now would only lead to widespread speculation that he is guilty of more serious sins than having shady neighbour Dimitrios Pilarinos build a porch on the premier’s house and cottage. Strategically, it’s better for the government that Clark stay on for a respectable period of time, then resign as quietly as possible.
Of course, that’s a common sensical sort of outcome, and common sense isn’t abundant in British Columbia provincial politics. Remember Socred Premier Bill Vander Zalm, who fell from grace in 1988 amidst allegations of corruption? Then there was NDP Premier Mike Harcourt, who fell on his sword in 1996 because of his government’s apparently inappropriate use of gambling proceeds. As far back as anyone cares to remember, B.C. politics have been wild and wooly.
Even so, the brief Glen Clark mandate will go down as one of the wildest, at least in recent memory. Clark was barely elected when the first tempest struck over promises his government made about balancing the budget. Instead, the books showed a burgeoning deficit. Things went downhill from there.
Clark, of course, has a justification for his government’s woes. It’s a common refrain from politicians acting in desperation: The media are to blame. (Source: Hamilton Spectator Editorial)