Despite the brave faces over the mass exodus of several B.C. Liberal MLAs, including some high-profile cabinet ministers, Premier Christy Clark and the remaining members of her caucus have to be quaking in their boots on the inside.
Two of the top contenders in the leadership race – George Abbott and Kevin Falcon – are not following the anointed premier into the May 2013 election.
They are not alone as there are many other government MLAs who either retired earlier, or have also decided to not run again.
While some of the B.C. Liberals opponents liken it to “rats abandoning the sinking ship,” we don’t believe that’s necessarily the case, although a feeling of doom may have figured into the decision-making process.
Would Abbott or Falcon be leaving politics if they had won the leadership race? Not likely.
However, both these men will likely have much more productive careers in the private sector than they would toiling as politicians.
A lot of these retiring MLAs have had long and busy political careers in public service in both the municipal and provincial sectors.
Many are tired and they want some time for themselves and their families.
A lot of them were beaten up over the Harmonized Sales Tax, and after pondering their future during the summer, have decided it’s time to hang ’em up.
Premier Clark wanted to know what her caucus members’ intentions were going into the provincial election and she found out in no uncertain terms.
She had to build a new and winning team if she was going to be elected as premier at the polling stations next year.
Certainly, her reassuring words during the cabinet shuffle announcement that this was a “renewed cabinet … with a renewed commitment to our priorities” ring a little hollow when we look at her restoration project.
Clark had to go with the cabinet ministers with the most experience in the key ministries, and she had to even bring in people who had been banished from the inner circle to shore up the inner sanctum.
It will be interesting to see how the BC Liberal Party’s resiliency stands up to this current test.
It definitely won’t roll over and play dead.