Rocky road for B.C. premier

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has a tough rebuilding job ahead of her, if she hopes her Liberal party is going to hang on to power.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has a tough rebuilding job ahead of her, if she hopes her Liberal party is going to hang on to power in the next provincial election.

A lot tougher than dealing with penny-ante complaints over women-only meetings.

There have been 13 political retirements, departures, and defections from the BC Liberals in recent months, with a lot of high-profile MLAs announcing their retirement from politics this week alone.

The worst-timed departure has to be Kevin Falcon, who was Clark’s finance minister at the time. He leaves just before the Liberals were expected to announce their “election budget” in February. If a finance minister bolts in the way Falcon did, it raises questions about whether the contents of that budget would have caused more troubles for the party — or represented a direction the the minister doesn’t like.

Even if that doesn’t enter into the matter, Falcon’s departure, as well as the others’, comes right before Clark’s planned cabinet shuffle. Perhaps a few people sensed their time was up. Maybe it’s Ron Cantelon’s time to shine.

All parties go through turnover. People do retire after long careers in politics. The sheer number of Liberals riding off into the sunset, however, is unusual and it opens doors for the BC Conservatives and New Democrats in those vacated ridings.

If nothing else, the departures and new openings in the provincial election in May could give voters pause. There’s nothing like a few “sinking ship” comments to throw a little doubt about the ruling party’s chances of survival.

Already, the NDP won two seats that had been held by Liberals who left the fold. Not a good sign for Clark.

If Clark has the campaigning chops so many pundits says she has, she is going to need them come the spring.

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