British Columbia

Christy Clark: a career timeline of B.C.'s 35th premier

For more than two decades, Christy Clark has been a prominent part of British Columbia's politics — whether in government, opposition or out of office.

Her political life included several comebacks — but her long career is winding down after a dramatic election

B.C. Premier Christy Clark, seen here in April 2017, announced she will be resigning as leader of the B.C. Liberal Party on July 28, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

For more than two decades, Christy Clark has been a prominent part of British Columbia's politics — whether in government, opposition or out of office. 

But her resignation as B.C. Liberal Party leader appears to end a historic career that always inspired strong emotions from both her supporters and detractors. 

Here's a brief timeline of Christy Clark's life in the public eye. 

Rising star

1991: With little experience outside of student politics at SFU, Clark becomes a key campaigner and organizer for the B.C. Liberals. They go from zero seats in the legislature to 17, forming official opposition.

1996: Clark is elected to the B.C. Legislature for the first time and serves as a key opposition critic for the Liberals.

2001: The Liberals win 77 of 79 seats in the 2001 election and Clark is appointed deputy premier and minister of education by then premier Gordon Campbell. 

2002: Clark introduces two bills that unilaterally change the labour agreement for B.C. teachers. The bills end up being the focal point of multiple work stoppages, and, 14 years later, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously rules the bills were illegal.       

2004: Nine months after being removed as education minister, Clark announces she will not run for re-election in order to spend more time with her three-year-old son Hamish.

From politics to broadcasting and back again

2005: Months after stepping down as an MLA, Clark announces her bid to become mayor of Vancouver under the banner of the Non Partisan Association, but she loses the leadership nomination to Sam Sullivan. 

2007: Clark begins hosting a radio talk show on CKNW. 

2010: A month after Gordon Campbell announces he will resign as premier and B.C. Liberal Party leader, Clark starts her campaign to replace him.

2011: Despite only having the support of one MLA, Clark emerges victorious in the Liberal leadership race in the third round of voting and becomes British Columbia's 35th premier on March 14. She narrowly wins a byelection in Vancouver-Point Grey, Campbell's former riding, over NDP candidate David Eby. 

Former British Columbia premier and Liberal leader Christy Clark celebrates with supporters following her party's victory in the provincial election in Vancouver, British Columbia May 14, 2013. ((Andy Clark/Reuters))

Comebacks and downfalls

2012: Clark's deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad oversees a "multicultural strategy" for the government, which outlined ways her party could woo minority voters and involved government employees doing work for the Liberal party. The scandal consumes Clark and the Liberals in the leadup to the 2013 election.

February 2013: In a throne speech, the government announces it will aggressively pursue a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry for the province and establishes a Prosperity Fund it says will generate $100 billion over the next 30 years from LNG proceeds. 

May 2013: Despite trailing the NDP by as much as 20 points during the campaign, Clark and the Liberals win a fourth straight majority on election night. Clark becomes B.C.'s first elected female premier — though loses her own seat to Eby, forcing her to win a byelection in Kelowna months later. 

April 2014: The B.C. Teachers Federation begins a months-long strike, resulting in the cancellation of many weeks at the end and beginning of the school year before it is resolved on September 16.   

B.C.'s premier says teachers must suspend their strike, but the union says no way 2:45

December 2014: Clark announces the province will build the Site C Dam in northeastern B.C., an $8 billion hydroelectric dam that will be the most expensive public infrastructure project in B.C. history.   

2016: Clark faces months of negative stories on two main files: her government's lack of action on exploding real estate prices in Metro Vancouver and a $50,000 stipend the B.C. Liberal party is paying her on top of her government salary. In both cases, Clark eventually reverses course.  

February 2017: With GDP growth the highest in the country, Clark's government tables a fifth straight balanced budget, which includes cutting MSP premiums in half. Despite continued positive top-line economic news, she remains neck and neck in the polls with NDP Leader John Horgan. 

May 2017: On election night, the Liberals finish with two more seats than the NDP — but the record election of three Green MLAs means they're one seat short of a majority. Weeks later, the NDP and Greens agree to support each other in the legislature. Clark pledges she'll stay on as premier. 

June 2017: After 52 days of uncertainty, Clark's government loses a non-confidence motion. She meets with Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon and asks for another election, but Guichon decides to ask Horgan to test the confidence of the house and become premier

July 2017: Clark initially gives indications she will serve as opposition leader, but 10 days after Horgan officially becomes premier, Clark announces her resignation as B.C. Liberal Party leader.   

B.C. Premier Christy Clark leaves after a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday May 30, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)