British Columbia

'I am done with public life,' says Christy Clark in 1st public statement since announcing resignation

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark says she's looking forward to being a "stage mom" and bugging her teenage son to do his homework when she leaves politics this week.

Clark is stepping down as leader of the B.C. Liberal Party after failing to win a majority in May election

'It's going to be cool," said Christy Clark's son, Hamish Marissen-Clark, about his mother's resignation from politics. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark says she's looking forward to being a "stage mom" and bugging her teenage son Hamish to do his homework when she leaves politics this week.

"I am done with public life," said Clark, appearing with Hamish to speak publicly for the first time since she announced her resignation last Friday.

"It's been an incredible journey ... I think we accomplished a lot."

Put on the spot by reporters at what is likely Clark's last political press conference, Hamish, a Grade 11 student, blushed when asked what he thought of his mom's decision.

"Six and a half years, it's been a long time, she's been premier for most of my life that I can remember," said Hamish Marissen-Clark.

"It's going to be really — it's going to be cool," he said, looking directly at his mom.

Hamish Marissen-Clark has played a role in Clark's public life before, seen here at age 11, the night the B.C. Liberals won a surprise majority on May 14, 2013. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

After the May provincial election, Clark's Liberals were one seat short of control of B.C.'s 87-seat legislature, and lost a confidence vote to a historic alliance between the B.C. NDP and B.C. Green Party.

'I knew in my heart' on election night

Clark had said she'd stay on as leader of the opposition after NDP Leader John Horgan was sworn in as B.C. premier — but then announced Friday she would resign this week.

Today she said a part of her saw that decision coming on May 9.

"Looking back, I knew in my heart from election night that ... it was time for me to leave, and that feeling grew."

Last week, at the Liberal caucus retreat in Penticton, Clark said she finally decided it was time.

"My head caught up with my heart," she told reporters Monday.

"I talked to the caucus the day before, I asked them all … every single person in the room asked me to stay," said Clark.

"I just knew, even if they didn't know it, it was time for me to leave and time for us to renew."

Clark said it was better for the party to find a new leader now, as it adjusts to being in Opposition, than later when an election could be looming. She said she will not be involved in any campaigns for Liberal leadership.

Beyond gardening, parenting, and going to the theatre with her son, Clark has given little hint at what her plans are post-politics.

"I'm going to find a way in my next career … to continue to do service," she said. "But I don't think that's in politics anymore."

B.C. Premier Christy Clark arrives at Government House to meet with Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon after her Liberal minority government was defeated on a confidence vote in Victoria on June 29. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)


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