March 3, 2011

Same club led by a different smile and a different gender, Communists say

The new leader of the BC Liberal Party, Christy Clark, may be the only person in BC who believes that Gordon Campbell left the province in better shape at the time of his departure than it was in at his debut. Sam Hammond, provincial leader of the Communist Party points out that, “This is more than naiveté. It is a declaration of more of the same old, same old.”

“Christy Clark claims to put ‘Family First’ but her vision of family values nicely skips over unemployment, homelessness, child poverty, education cuts and impacts of privatization., points out Hammond. “Her vision of family does not include the working people”.

Despite having portrayed herself during the leadership campaign, as an outsider, Christy Clark played a leading role in the first draconian term of the Gordon Campbell Liberals.

Her term as Education Minister was marked with unprecedented conflict and chaos. “Christy Clark made attacking the BCTF one of her main priorities, Hammond points out. “The imposition of collective agreement on teachers is the most glaring example of her hostility.” Clark made legislative changes, and changed the funding formula – the result increased class sizes and decreased supports for all students, but particularly those with special needs. She not only froze education funding, but also announced the government would not pay for the teacher salary increases (agreed to by the previous NDP government). School Boards were forced to cover the increases, resulting in unprecedented cuts. ($25.5 million in Vancouver- Even future Liberal Cabinet Minister, Mary Polak, then a Surrey School Board trustee, expressed anger at Clark’s actions.) She was famous for a flurry of policy announcements that the Board were expected to implement with little or no notice.

Clark’s short term at Ministry of Children and Families, was similarly marked by chaos.

It should also not be forgotten that Christy Clark was Deputy Premier for the scandal-ridden sale of BC Rail. “Clark championed the give-a-way of the publicly owned BC Rail to private ownership”, Hammond stated, despite having helped write the Liberal election platform that promised not to sell BC Rail.” Christy Clark has repeatedly stated her rejected calls for an inquiry into the BC Rail scandal.

“She is not an outsider. She actively participated at the Cabinet table in some of the worst attacks on working families in the history BC – including tearing up labour agreements, reducing welfare, to presiding over one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the public coffers to private hands. It is clear from her record that the family that really comes first for Christy Clark is the ‘Coalition of Corporate Interest’, Hammond says. “The Liberal Party in British Columbia has not changed leadership. It is the same club led by a different smile and a different gender.”

Christy Clark has promised to move the HST referendum up to June 24th. “It is imperative for Labour and its allies – for all progressive voters in BC to give the first signal of resistance to the new Premier”, Hammond states. “Defeat the HST!”

For more information contact Sam Hammond

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