British Columbia

Christy Clark says B.C. Liberals would win election

Premier Christy Clark suggests her B.C. Liberal party would have won a fall election had she decided to call it, despite contrary views from the opposition.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark ended early election speculation Wednesday. (CBC)

Premier Christy Clark suggests her B.C. Liberal party would have won a fall election had she decided to call it, despite contrary views from the opposition.

After months of speculation about her intentions, Clark announced Wednesday night that she would not go the polls, but insisted it was not because her party would have been defeated.  

"The B.C. Liberal party does do a lot of polling," Clark said Thursday in Maple Ridge. "We've been doing quite a bit over the last while, and it suggested a favourable result if an election was called today."

Opposition leader Adrian Dix disagreed.

"Clearly the only issue facing the premier was where the Liberal Party stood in the polls," said the B.C. NDP leader. "That was her only consideration." . Like most governing parties, the Liberals decline to release their polling results.

Speculation driven by Clark

The speculation about an early election has been driven by Clark herself for the past nine months.

When just a candidate for the leadership to replace the resigning Gordon Campbell, Clark suggested in December 2010 that an early election would make sense for a new premier.

"I think two and a-half years as an unelected premier is an awful long time," Clark said.

When asked about a snap election after she’d become premier in March, Clark said, "I haven't ruled out anything."

And under intense questioning by reporters trying to pin her down as recently as Aug. 26, Clark refused to say whether or not an early election was still a possibility.

The guessing game ended Wednesday when Clark said there would be no snap vote after all and that the next election would be held as currently scheduled, in May 2013.

She said it was the will of the voters, not B.C. Liberal party prospects, that informed her decision.

"I said when I ran that I was going to listen to the public," the premier said Wednesday. "Near as I can tell, about 80 per cent of the public don't want an election, so I have an obligation to listen and act on that."

The B.C. legislature is now scheduled to resume sitting in early October.

With files from the CBC's Stephen Smart