VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – The premier has the cabinet support, but can she depend on caucus? Christy Clark faces rank-and-file Liberal MLAs tonight in Victoria.
Clark looked relieved as she spoke to reporters after a three-hour meeting in Downtown Vancouver last night. She also used the opportunity to finally apologize publicly for a much-criticized taxpayer-funded program to woo multicultural voters.
York University political scientist Dennis Pilon says with cabinet support locked up, he doesn’t expect caucus to challenge her leadership.
“It would be very unlikely to see a leader dumped at this point… the party doesn’t want to go there,” explains Pilon.
“I think that’s probably the message they’re getting inside the cabinet meeting and inside the caucus is like, ‘Folks, this is what we signed up for. Lets make it work.'”
But Pilon warns of even more damage to the party’s support base. “Those are the people who got angry with the party over the carbon tax [and] over the HST, and they’re the people that have to worry [it] might sit on their hands come next election time.”
“It’s not so much they’ll go to another party but they might not come out to vote.”
OMNI TV Victoria Bureau Chief Kim Emerson expects the premier may get an earful, especially from MLAs not seeking re-election.
“People like Kash Heed. Who would have ever thought that Kash Heed would have suddenly become the conscience of the caucus? But there he was, talking about what should happen and what’s wrong with what has happened.”
This is by far the greatest challenge to Clark’s leadership since taking over the party in March, 2011. Yesterday, 89 party members gathering for a breakfast meeting in Surrey issued a one-line declaration, calling for Clark to step aside.
The NDP is expected to use its time in the House today to grill the government on the ethnic voter outreach scandal.