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Christy Clark

The Honourable
Christy Clark
35th Premier of British Columbia
Assumed office
March 14, 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Steven Point
Judith Guichon
Preceded by Gordon Campbell
MLA for Westside-Kelowna
Assumed office
July 10, 2013
Preceded by Ben Stewart
MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey
In office
May 30, 2011 – May 13, 2013
Preceded by Gordon Campbell
Succeeded by David Eby
MLA for Port Moody-Westwood
In office
Preceded by Barbara Copping
Succeeded by Iain Black
MLA for Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain
In office
Deputy Premier of British Columbia
In office
June 5, 2001 – September 20, 2004
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Joy MacPhail
Succeeded by Shirley Bond
Minister of Education
In office
June 5, 2001 – January 26, 2004
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Joy MacPhail
Succeeded by Tom Christensen
Minister of Children and Family Development
In office
January 26, 2004 – September 20, 2004
Premier Gordon Campbell
Preceded by Gordon Hogg
Succeeded by Stan Hagen
Personal details
Born Christina Joan Clark
(1965-10-29) October 29, 1965
Burnaby, British Columbia
Political party B.C. Liberal
Spouse(s) Mark Marissen (divorced; 1 child)
Residence Vancouver. British Columbia
Occupation Parliamentarian
Religion Anglican[1]

Christina Joan "Christy" Clark, MLA (born October 29, 1965) is a Canadian politician who currently serves as the 35th Premier of British Columbia, Canada. Clark was sworn in as premier on March 14, 2011, after she won the leadership of the British Columbia Liberal Party in the 2011 leadership election on February 26, 2011. She is the second woman to serve as Premier of British Columbia, after Rita Johnston in 1991, and the first to lead her party to victory in a general election.

Clark served as a Member of the Legislature from 1996 to 2005, serving as deputy premier from 2001 to 2005 during the first term of Gordon Campbell's government. She left politics in 2005, and became the host of an afternoon radio talk show.[2] At the time of her leadership victory, Clark was not a member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. She re-entered the legislature after winning a by-election on May 11, 2011, in Vancouver-Point Grey, the seat left vacant by Campbell.[3]

Her government was re-elected in the 2013 provincial election, but Clark was defeated by David Eby in her own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey. She was subsequently reelected to the legislature in a by-election in Westside-Kelowna on July 10, 2013.[4]


  • Background 1
  • Politics 2
    • Opposition 2.1
    • Government 2.2
    • Campaign for mayor of Vancouver 2.3
  • Radio show and columnist 3
  • Leadership campaign 4
  • Premiership 5
    • 2013 re-election 5.1
    • Race relations 5.2
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Clark was born on October 29, 1965 in Burnaby, British Columbia, the daughter of Mavis Audrey (née Bain) and Jim Clark.[5] Her father was a teacher and a three-time candidate for the legislative assembly, and her mother, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, was a marriage and family therapist in Vancouver. Clark graduated from Burnaby South Senior Secondary[6] before attending Simon Fraser University (SFU), the Sorbonne in France and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland[7] to study Political Science and Religious Studies.[8][9] It is unclear whether she graduated from any post secondary institution.[10]

In 2001, Clark gave birth to her only child, Hamish Marissen-Clark, with then husband Mark Marissen. Clark was the second woman in Canadian history to give birth to a child while serving as a cabinet minister, after Pauline Marois, then a Quebec provincial minister, in 1985.[11]



Clark was first elected to the legislature in the 1996 election, representing the riding of Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain.[12] During the next five years, she served as the Official Opposition critic for the environment, children and families and for the public service. She also served as the campaign co-chair for the BC Liberals during the 2001 election, in which the party won 77 of 79 seats in the legislature.


Following the BC Liberal Party's election victory in 2001, Premier Gordon Campbell appointed Clark Minister of Education and Deputy Premier.[13][14] She brought in a number of changes that were claimed to increase accountability, strengthen parental power in the decision-making process, and provide parents greater choice and flexibility in the school system. These changes were unpopular amongst teachers, school board members, opposition politicians, and union officials who argued that the decision not to fund the pay increases agreed to by the government resulted in funding gaps. The changes made were challenged by the BC Teacher's Federation, and were later found to be unconstitutional.[15]

As Education Minister, Clark sought to increase the independence of the BC College of Teachers against heavy opposition from the British Columbia Teachers' Federation.[16][17] In 2002 the BC Liberals and Education Minister Christie Clark introduced Bills 27 & 28 forcing teachers back to work and banning collective bargaining. In 2011 the BC Supreme Court found Minister Clark’s decision to do so unconstitutional.[18] Clark was deputy premier at the time of the privatization of BC Rail and resulting scandal.[19] Clark was also the co-chair of the 2001 Liberal campaign, which included a platform that specifically promised not to sell BC Rail.[20] In 2009, Michael Bolton, defence attorney in the Basi-Virk trial, alleged that Clark had participated in the scandal by providing government information to lobbyist Erik Bornmann. These allegations were never proven or tested in court.[21] Her brother Bruce Clark was the subject of one of the warrants. Though confidential draft "Request for Proposal" documents relating to the bid process allegedly provided by Dave Basi were found in Bruce Clark's home no charges were laid against him. Dave Basi and Bob Virk, Liberal Party insiders were charged for accepting benefits from one of the bidders, however.[22] Clark has rebuffed talk of her links to the scandal as "smear tactics". At the time of the raids and associated warrants, her then-husband Mark Marissen was visited at home by the RCMP.[23] Her husband was also not under investigation, and was told that he might have been the "innocent recipient" of documents then in his possession.[24]

In 2004, Clark was appointed Minister of Children and Family Development after Minister Gordon Hogg was forced to resign. On September 17, 2004, Clark quit provincial politics and did not seek re-election in the 2005 provincial election. She declared she wanted to spend more time with her three-year-old son.[11]

Campaign for mayor of Vancouver

On August 31, 2005, Clark announced that she would seek the nomination of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) to run for mayor in the Vancouver Civic Elections against local councillor Sam Sullivan.[11] On September 24, 2005, she lost the NPA's mayoral nomination to Sullivan by 69 votes out of 2,100 cast. Sullivan was subsequently elected Mayor of Vancouver[25] and in 2013 was elected a Liberal MLA while Clark was premier.

Radio show and columnist

Clark hosted the The Christy Clark Show, airing weekdays on CKNW 980 AM in Vancouver from August 27, 2007, through to her decision to enter the BC Liberal leadership election in December 2010.[13][26] Clark also served as a weekly columnist for the Vancouver Province and the Vancouver Sun newspapers during the 2005 provincial election and an election analyst for Global BC and CTV News Channel during the 2006 federal election.[14]

Leadership campaign

BC Liberal Party leadership candidate Christy Clark at a Vancouver arts and community centre

On December 8, 2010, Clark officially announced her intent to seek the leadership of the BC Liberal Party. While Clark had long been touted as a potential successor to BC Premier Gordon Campbell, she often claimed she had no further interest in a political career.[27][28][29] Public polling conducted prior to and after the announcement of her candidacy showed that Clark was the frontrunner to succeed Campbell as leader of the BC Liberals and premier.[30][31] Clark launched her leadership bid saying she wanted a “family-first agenda”.[32] During the campaign she tried to cast herself as an outsider from the current caucus, and as the only candidate who could provide the change voters were looking for.[33] Clark's policy proposals included observing a provincial Family Day in February, establishing an Office of the Municipal Auditor General to monitor local government taxation, and to provide a more open government by holding 12 town hall meetings a year to hear from residents.[34][35][36] Regarding the controversial Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), she campaigned early on to cancel the referendum scheduled for September 2011. She suggested a free vote in the legislature by MLAs, believing the HST referendum has little chance of success. “Let our MLAs do their jobs and let our MLAs vote down the HST. Do it by March 31 and get it over with and get on with life in B.C.,” Clark told a crowd of about 40 in Pitt Meadows.[37] However, she eventually decided to continue with the planned referendum.[38]

Despite her perceived frontrunner status, backbench MLA

Political offices
Preceded by
Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
Order of precedence in British Columbia
as of 2013
Succeeded by
Robert J. Bauman, Chief Justice of British Columbia
  • Christy Clark
  • Official Biography, Office of the Premier

External links

  1. ^ Todd, Douglas. "Christy Clark goes to church, and isn’t shy about it". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ Armstrong, Jeanne (December 8, 2010). "Christy Clark to seek leadership of B.C. Liberals". National Post. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ Hunter, Justin (May 12, 2011). "With Clark singed by close vote, Grits may feel election is playing with fire". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "B.C.’s Premier Christy Clark wins byelection, returns to legislature". Toronto Star, July 10, 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Member Biography: MLA: Hon. Christy Clark". Legislative Assembly of BC. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Premier Christy Clark". Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  8. ^ Fong, Petti (February 26, 2011). "Christy Clark will be new B.C. premier".  
  9. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan (April 27, 2013). "Christy Clark, a politician first". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  10. ^ "B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark has long had her eyes on this prize". 
  11. ^ a b c Richmond, Vanessa (December 9, 2010). "Christy Clark and the Woman Politician Thing".  
  12. ^ "Christy Clark finding her way back into the political arena". December 8, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Former education minister gets own radio show". July 28, 2007. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Monroe, Susan. "British Columbia Premier Christy Clark". Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  15. ^ Pablo, Carlito (December 2, 2010). "Christy Clark's legacy of education cuts lingers in B.C.".  
  16. ^ Steffenhagen, Janet (December 14, 2010). "Liberals to blame for B.C. College of Teachers dysfunction, former registrar says".  
  17. ^ Hyslop, Katie (January 28, 2011). "When Christy Clark Ran BC's Schools".  
  18. ^ "BC Supreme Court Issues Decision in BCTF Challenge to Bills 27 and 28" (PDF). British Columbia Public School Employers' Association. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  19. ^ Tieleman, Bill (January 8, 2004). "Raids prompt revelations of Martin-Campbell connections".  
  20. ^ a b "BC Rail questions remain 7 years after raid". December 28, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Tieleman, Bill (November 29, 2010). "Hard Questions for Christy Clark".  
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^ Tamsyn Burgmann The Canadian Press (December 27, 2010). Questions still linger after stunning raid of B.C. legislature", Tamysn Burgmann, ''Toronto Star''""". Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  24. ^ "INDEPTH: B.C. RAIDS". CBC News. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  25. ^ Leiren-Young, Mark (September 26, 2005). "Man in Wheelchair Runs over Christy Clark!".  
  26. ^ Barron, Robert (December 15, 2010). "Christy Clark's political parade around B.C. hits Nanaimo". Nanimo Daily News. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  27. ^ Mason, Gary (November 26, 2010). "Candidates emerge in race for Campbell’s seat". Toronto:  
  28. ^ "B.C. Liberals to decide on leadership vote".  
  29. ^ Smyth, Michael (November 28, 2010). "Clark eyes bid to replace Campbell".  
  30. ^ "Clark front-runner for B.C. Liberals: poll". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. November 29, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  31. ^ Dhillon, Sunny (February 21, 2011). "Clark's lead over BC Liberal leadership rivals shrinks, poll says". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  32. ^ Armstrong, Jeanne (December 8, 2010). "Christy Clark to seek leadership of B.C. Liberals". The National Post. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  33. ^ Bailey, Ian (February 19, 2012). "Clark says only she can bring real change to BC Liberals". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  34. ^ Bailey, Ian (January 10, 2011). "Clark calls for a B.C. Family Day". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Liberal leadership candidates meet for B.C. Chamber of Commerce panel". January 18, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  36. ^ Bailey, Ian (January 4, 2011). "Christy Clark calls for more open government in B.C.". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  37. ^ Melnychuk, Phil (November 26, 2010). "Christy Clark makes stop in Pitt Meadows". Maple Ridge News. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  38. ^ "'"Christy Clark rivals pounce on HST 'flip-flop. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. February 2, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  39. ^ Baines, Matthew (January 12, 2011). "Christy Clark considered a front-runner for Liberal leadership". Northeast News. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  40. ^ MacLeod, Andrew (March 15, 2012). "Christy Clark supporter Harry Bloy resigns from cabinet". The Tyee. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  41. ^ Gyarmati, Sandor (February 18, 2011). "Falcon makes it a quartet". Delta Optimist. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  42. ^ Mason, Gary (February 25, 2011). "Leadership front-runner Christy Clark makes B.C. Liberals nervous". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Poll suggests Christy Clark threatens Liberal coalition". February 23, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  44. ^ "B.C. Rail's toxic cargo poisoning Clark's bid". The Province, December 16, 2010.
  45. ^ "Christy Clark voted B.C. Liberal leader". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. February 26, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Leadership Vote Results". BC Liberal Party. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  47. ^ "B.C. Premier Christy Clark sworn in, unveils cabinet". CTV News. March 14, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  48. ^ Bailey, Ian (May 12, 2011). "B.C. Premier Clark narrowly avoids political disaster with by-election win". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  49. ^ Bailey, Ian (March 22, 2011). "Poll puts Clark's Liberals ahead of BC NDP; HST vote to fail". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  50. ^ "NDP Moves Ahead of BC Liberals". Ipsos. October 7, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  51. ^ "BC Liberals and Conservatives tied for support". CTV News. December 21, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  52. ^ "BC NDP set for near sweep of province" (PDF). Forum Research. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  53. ^ Bailey, Ian (April 3, 2012). "Clark on defensive as poll shows B.C. Liberals' support eroding". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  54. ^ Reynolds, Christopher (October 13, 2012). "Public support for Conservatives, leader John Cummins dropping: poll". Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  55. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan (December 4, 2012). "B.C. Conservatives bleed support to Liberals". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  56. ^ Fong, Petti (Sep 2, 2012). "Christy Clark expects more B.C. Liberal resignations". The Star. 
  57. ^ "Christy Clark target of BC Rail-related complaint". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. November 7, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  58. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan (April 10, 2013). "Christy Clark cleared of conflict in BC Rail sale". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  59. ^ "Premier Christy Clark maps out ambitious early agenda". The Globe and Mail. 18 May 2013. 
  60. ^ "Christy Clark to run in Liberal-safe Westside-Kelowna for byelection". The Province. 5 June 2013. 
  61. ^ "Chinese community gets apology from B.C. for historical wrongs". CBCNews British Columbia. May 15, 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  62. ^ "Tsilhqot'in chiefs hanged in 1864 exonerated by B.C. Premier Christy Clark". CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). 24 October 2014. 


In October 2014, the British Columbia government exonerated First Nations leaders who had been sentenced to be hanged in the Chilcotin War by Judge Begbie in 1864. Clark stated, "We confirm without reservation that these six Tsilhqot'in chiefs are fully exonerated for any crime or wrongdoing."[62]

"While the governments which passed these laws and policies acted in a manner that [was] lawful at the time, today this racist discrimination is seen by British Columbians — represented by all members of the legislative assembly — as unacceptable and intolerable. The entire legislative assembly acknowledges the perseverance of Chinese Canadians that was demonstrated with grace and dignity throughout our history while being oppressed by unfair and discriminatory historical laws."[61]

In May 2014, Clark gave a formal apology for 160 historical racist and discriminatory policies imposed against Chinese-Canadians:

Race relations

On June 4, Clark announced she would run in a by-election for the safe Liberal seat of Westside-Kelowna to re-enter the Legislative Assembly. The incumbent MLA, government whip Ben Stewart, resigned in Clark's favour.[60] Clark won the by-election on July 10, 2013, taking more than 60 per cent of the vote over NDP candidate Carole Gordon.[4]

Clark defied pollster predictions by leading her party to victory, its fourth consecutive mandate but her first, in the May 13, 2013 provincial election reversing a 20 point lead held by the BC NDP at the beginning of the campaign. However, she suffered personal defeat in Vancouver-Point Grey losing her seat to the NDP candidate, David Eby by a margin of 785 votes. According to parliamentary precedent she was entitled to remain premier, but had to win a by-election in order to sit in the legislative assembly. She did not rule out running in a riding outside the Lower Mainland in order to get back into the chamber, telling The Globe and Mail that she believed one reason she lost her own riding was that she was devoting so much time to serving the entire province.[59]

2013 re-election

During her premiership, she was accused of conflict of interest by MLA and former BC Liberal cabinet minister John van Dongen in relation to the sale of BC Rail during her service as a cabinet minister in the Campbell government.[57] In April 2013, B.C.’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner released a decision that Clark had been in neither a real nor apparent conflict of interest.[58]

In the summer of 2012, several high profile caucus members, including the Ministers of Education and Finance, announced they wouldn't seek re-election. Though Premier Clark suggested she "expected" the resignations, the news shook her government.[56] There was public outrage and disruption within her party, including calls for her resignation, as a result of the Quick Wins ethnic outreach scandal.

After Clark became premier, the Liberal Party saw a bounce in support and lead in opinion polls, after falling behind the Official Opposition NDP under Campbell.[49] However, the increase in support was short lived and within months the party had fallen behind the NDP once again.[50] Several polls eventually showed a statistical tie between the Liberals and the Conservative Party with support for each party in the low twenties, while support for the NDP was in the high forties.[51][52][53] Internal problems within the Conservative Party towards the end of 2012 saw the party bleed support to the Liberals.[54][55]

Clark was sworn in as Premier of British Columbia on March 14, 2011, and unveiled a new smaller cabinet on the same day.[47] At the time of her swearing in, she did not hold a seat in the legislature. Clark ran in former Premier Gordon Campbell's riding of Vancouver-Point Grey and defeated NDP candidate David Eby by 595 votes. Her win marked the first time that a governing party won a by-election in 30 years.[48]

Premier Christy Clark at a 2011 World Economic Forum meeting in India.


At the leadership convention held on February 26, 2011, Clark was elected leader of the BC Liberals on the third ballot, over former Health Minister Kevin Falcon. She won 52 per cent of the vote, compared to 48 per cent for Falcon.[45][46]

Her campaign faced questions regarding her involvement in the sale of BC Rail due to her cabinet position and family connection to people "mentioned prominently in court documents, including search warrants", with opposition members stating that she "wants to shut down the public's questions about the scandal".[21][44] It was in the wake of the controversial Basi-Virk guilty pleas that ended the trial proceedings that she declared her candidacy for the party leadership on her radio show. Clark had called for more questions to be answered about BC Rail, but since then has said that there is no need for a public inquiry, as have the other Liberal Party leadership contenders.[20]

[43][42] which had started to make a comeback in the province after decades of dormancy.British Columbia Conservative Party and Liberals, and there were fears that right-wing supporters would move to the Conservatives could fracture the party. The BC Liberals are not affiliated with any party at the federal level and is considered a "free-enterprise coalition" made up of both federal Liberal Party While many saw Clark as the best hope for the party there were fears that Clark's past background with the federal [41]

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