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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The other interesting ex-Premier

In today's Vancouver Sun, religion and faith reporter Douglas Todd profiles Glen Clark, who resigned as the NDP premier of B.C., under a cloud of suspicion that he had wrongly used his office to benefit himself personally. He was hired by very wealthy B.C. businessman Jimmy Pattison, cleared by the courts, and is now, as the feature documents, working quietly out of the spotlight to supervise several of Mr. Pattison's businesses.

It's an interesting read, but Mr. Clark has made a promise to concentrate on his work, so he doesn't talk much about how his political or moral views might have changed, or comment on politics today.

That's too bad. What is also too bad is that another ex-Premier of B.C., who has also been cleared of wrongdoing in office by the courts and is also working quietly in the business field, will possibly not get similar attention by the Sun. That would strike me as a bit odd, because as my old colleague Terry O'Neill noted in a Shotgun post here a few weeks ago, Bill Vander Zalm has published an autobiography. A good "news hook" to most editors, I'd say. (It's not as if the Pacific Press papers don't know of the book. Province editorial cartoonist Bob Kreiger drew a cartoon making fun of the book when it came out.)

As Terry noted, Mr. Vander Zalm lost a lot of support amongst B.C. opponents of the NDP when he tried to reflect social conservative concerns in government policy, such as, for example, arguing for finding ways for abortion to no longer be part of the Canada's public health care system.

I'm sure that Mr. Vander Zalm, at a time when the B.C. and federal governments are increasingly small-l liberal, might have some interesting observations on the intersection of faith and politics that would be right up Mr. Todd's alley. I myself would wonder whether a "so-con" could ever be Premier of B.C. again. If you wanted to ask Mr Vander Zalm a difficult question, you could ask him if he ruined the chance, through his mistakes, for anyone of strong faith who might want his old job in the future.

I'd hope that Mr. Todd would think of interviewing the other interesting ex-Premier of B.C. We'll see if he does. At least, if we judge by his record in office, Mr. Vander Zalm would be less reticent and coy than Mr. Clark now is, which is good news for a quote-hungry reporter writing in any section of a newspaper.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on January 31, 2009 | Permalink


Mr. Vander Zalm was probably the best premier BC has ever had and continues to be hated by the Left and MSM in BC. It was especially MSM that did everything possible to smear him and to discredit him. He was correct that abortion is not a health issue and therefore should not be covered by BC Medical, but as expected the Left went bananas and his message was presented as being anti-women and out to ban abortion.

As a general rule of thumb the more a politician is hated by the Left, the more certain you can be that he or she is someone with sound convictions and policy.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-01-31 11:39:35 PM

I agree that Vander Zalm was a strong, principled Premier. Shouldn't the Western Standard be doing everything it can to get an exclusive interview with him?

Posted by: Jeremy Maddock | 2009-02-01 3:42:37 AM

He was another erratic politician. Check what he did to ICBC in the name of "fairness" which was actually unjust.

Posted by: Keith Sketchley | 2009-02-16 10:17:28 AM

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