The section that's garnered the controversy in Fowlie's account
of Clark is where the premier runs a red light. It's done at the urging of her son, Hamish, whom she is driving to his goalie camp session at an ungodly early time (been there, done that with my goalie). It reads as an odd moment and behind it all there's a note of her being calculated, considering the presence of Fowlie in the car - how could she not consider the news reporter in the car? - and going with that which is most likely to translate into votes.
Here's the excerpt:
At times, [Clark and Hamish] seem more like sidekicks — siblings even — than they do mother and son. And especially so the morning when the two were on their way to Hamish’s goalie clinic.
“Let’s see you go through this red light,” Hamish challenged as they pulled up that morning, at 5:15 a.m., to an abandoned Vancouver intersection.
“I might. Don’t test me,” Clark replies.
“Yeah. Go ahead.”
“There’s no one.”
“Would you go through? You shouldn’t because that would be breaking the law,” she says.
And with that the car has already sailed underneath the stale red stoplight and through the empty intersection.
“You always do that,” says Hamish.
Her wheels were turning as much as those of the car, she was looking for an angle. Like "how should I handle this? Do what Hamish wants? But he'll write about it. Will it look cool to the public? It's 5:15 in the a.m., no cars! Yeah, it'll play as a maverick." The thing is, it doesn't play as a maverick, or whatever else she may have been looking for, that is unless she wanted it to play as calculated, that and mildly irresponsible.
Christy Clark: Brazenly calculated
Clark was asked about the incident on the campaign trail Saturday but she deftly deflected the question and got on to what she wanted to talk about. Whether she'll be pinned down to comment fully on it in the days ahead is anybody's guess. Something notable about the incident was her chutzpah. She's doing it, going for it. Playing safe would have been "no, no, it's against the law, we'll wait a few seconds for the green light."
She's brazenly calculating, let's put it that way.
It reminds me of one of the commercials the Liberals have out. She sits at a table with others, delivering no substance - even where she criticizes the NDP's lack of substance, despite their producing volumes of policy, she delivers no substance - as she talks about how we want our children to stay in British Columbia. No one around her seems engaged but she flies on.
There's a young female sitting next to her who seems uncomfortable, perhaps with the camera, but Clark barrels on, either ignoring or not sensing the girl's energy, now talking about how parents love their kids. She displays a firm grasp of the obvious and it's a banal, trite moment, it's much ado about nothing. She'd have done better to consider the girl and react to her, maybe ask her a question about how she felt about jobs and keeping kids in B.C., respond to her answer.
But the wheels are turning, she's pitching, barreling through the red light looking for votes on the other side, delivering words she thinks people will want to hear. But I don't think they want platitudes and I think the lack of substance, the inability to look at what's around her and respond naturally to it, instead of calculating
the best response and charging ahead, will cause voters to present her with something that, this time, she can't ignore.
A red light.