Christy Clark’s sex appeal problem

Lacking support from female voters, the B.C. premier hosts a women-only breakfast

by Emma Teitel

A sex appeal problem

Sarah Elder

Q&A: Click here to read Christy Clark’s recent interview with Ken MacQueen

Shoring up support where you don’t have any is a vital part of politics.

It’s what American presidential nominee Mitt Romney is trying to do with Hispanics wary of his immigration policies. It’s what Stephen Harper did in the last federal election with Canadian Jews who shifted from Liberal to Conservative in record numbers.

And it’s what British Columbia’s Liberal premier, Christy Clark, tried to do with the women’s vote when she hosted a strictly female breakfast at a North Vancouver restaurant earlier this summer. The only difference between Clark’s political MO and those of the leaders above is that Clark actually belongs to the group that doesn’t fully support her.

According to a recent Angus Reid survey, only 15 per cent of women voters in B.C. said they’d vote for Clark’s Liberals, while 53 per cent said they’d support the NDP’s Adrian Dix, and 21 per cent said they’d vote Conservative—leaving Clark in last place among the major parties. If an election were held today, it’s very possible she would lose to Dix by a large margin—among women especially. Which is why, perhaps, she thought it would be a good idea to host a women’s-only townhall breakfast. Would that only women had shown up.

When one veteran member of the B.C. Liberals arrived for the session at Browns Socialhouse in North Vancouver on Aug. 2, he was turned away because he was a man. “It was explained to him,” government spokesman Shane Mills told the press, “that we could not accept his cheque—the event was an opportunity for women to meet the premier.”

One of Clark’s justifications for gender-specific events is that “conversations happen differently when it’s just women in the room.” Not everyone agrees.

Since the Browns event, the premier has faced allegations of sexism. It seems her attempt to become more accessible to women has made her a pariah among some men. The Province’s Michael Smith accused Clark of “enthusiastically embracing a ‘no boys allowed’ policy” and labelled her a hypocrite for criticizing the NDP’s gender-equity quota system, one that will reserve certain B.C. ridings for female candidates only. The Canadian Association for Equality—a national “men’s issues” group—is equally miffed. “It’s very divisive to hold a women’s-only group,” says spokesperson Bradley Corbett. “If that happened to a woman it wouldn’t be acceptable.”

There is at least one man, however, who remains unfazed. Derek Archer, 36, is the owner of the Browns Socialhouse franchise. He was the only male guest at the event. “The whole thing has been blown out of proportion,” he says. “It was such a positive event and [the negative attention] is totally unfair and I’m not speaking from any political platform.” Archer says the spurned Liberal donor, “an older fellow,” wasn’t visibly upset and left the restaurant in good spirits. Hopefully, for Clark’s sake, the women did too.




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Christy Clark’s sex appeal problem

  1. Should I ever vote NDP, I would need several medical specialists: A good emergency room physician to deal with me on arrival; a plastics guy to fix the damage to my nose from having to pinch it so hard while putting an X next to the NDP candidate’s name; an orthopedics guy to fix the stump where I would have cut off my dominant errant hand; a good prosthetics guy to fit me with an artificial device; and a top notch psychiatrist to fix the problem in my head.
    That being said, while Ms Clark was my favored candidate during the leadership race, it would be nice if she could provide this previously liberal voting elector some reason, any reason, why her government is deserving of support in the upcoming election. While it is not uncommonly said that ‘the rats desert a sinking ship’, the spate of recent announcements of retiring liberal mla’s speaks volume about her as a leader. She really doesn’t need to engage in sexist practices to lose the support of the good people of B.C.: that exercise has already been successfully achieved. Perhaps the B.C. Conservatives are the only alternative option to her government.

    • Clark has been blamed for all the things that happened to the Liberals and the stupid decisions while she was at NW. Now those phony male members are bailing out with their big pensions.

  2. “One of Clark’s justifications for gender-specific events is that
    “conversations happen differently when it’s just women in the room.””

    So will Clark be holding men-only events?

    If she did, then I would have no complain. But the fact that she doesn’t means she doesn’t believe her own lies.

  3. The left in B.C better not count their chic before her demise. We have seen the dippers in action both nationally and provincially. Libby Davies trying to cover up their ad support from the unions that was illegal. Libby is full of beans.The BC Conservatives must win enough seats to make a coalition necessary to save our province. Remember that before you get all enthused about voting for the dippers premiers who gave us fast ferries and objected to Expo 86. Dimwits at best.

  4. The BC Liberal Party doesn’t want men in the room only their checks. The NDP says that a male supporter can’t run in certain ridings while a female NDP can run anywhere. Gee, sound like sexism. Two parties where only wimpy yes men(metrosexuals) need apply. The Greens are hippie wackos. The only option for any sane non-leftist male voter is the BC Conservative Party. The Conservatives actually respect men. The other parties want men to shut up and sit in the back of the bus.

    • Yeah. It’s sad. Liberals and NDP chasing away their own husbands, sons, and brothers with their sexism.

      • You guys are so right. Men are marginalized in B.C.! Just look at the provincial legislature — men are totally in the minority. Same with the federal parliament. It’s a taco fest! Not to mention City Hall. Men are under-represented at every level of government — for shame! How do you stand the injustice of it all???

  5. Hmmm, reminds me of the retired logger that couldn’t stop drooling over how Clark winked at him across the table during a soiree to praise Christy’s part in gettting a mill operating again (sadly it closed a few months latter) and how he sure wouldn’t hesitate to vote for someone with such pretty eyes. Christy sure does know how to woo the voters.

  6. Clark is doing reverse jujitsu: she seems eager to move herself from one bad position to a worse one.

    Really, a staged event with women accompanied with fake smiles and awkward small-talk ? And this just after she screwed up the negotiations on the pipeline?

    Clark’s clock (no, not the biological one) is ticking…

  7. Clark & her NeoCon bunch remind me of “A Clockwork Orange” only weirder.

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