Premier Christy Clark is quickly expending her stock of credibility in her take-no-prisoners approach to the byelection battle in Port Moody-Coquitlam. Two recent claims by Clark and the BC Liberals are particularly egregious because they show how few qualms they have in stretching the truth for political gain.
Liberal candidate Dennis Marsden's "Christy got it done!" campaign brochure, mailed out before the byelection was called, gives Clark credit for removing the logjam that stalled the Evergreen Line.
And during the months-late announcement of two provincial byelections, the premier told reporters it was Joe Trasolini - former Port Moody mayor but, more notably, a former Clark friend and now an NDP foe - who was the biggest obstacle to the project. "It was after Joe Trasolini got out of the way that we were able to break that logjam and make it happen," Clark is quoted as saying.
Neither statement stands up to even basic scrutiny.
First, the Evergreen Line can in no way be considered Clark's baby. In fact, the $1.4-billion project has been a political football for years and what finally broke the logjam is that the TransLink mayors' council - including all Tri-City mayors - moved to enact a two-cent-a-litre gas tax increase, which the province approved after some waffling from Clark.
The premier is also way off base in blaming Trasolini for the stalled Evergreen Line funding agreement. While Trasolini was an outspoken critic of using property taxes to fund transportation - along with most mayors - he was no more an obstacle than anyone else on the mayors' council, which worked hard to get an agreement with the province on Evergreen.
Further, Clark thinks she can find $30 million for other transit improvements in a TransLink audit. Good on her, but it was the mayors who came up with the idea first and the BC Conservatives who led the opposition to the vehicle levy, which Clark is also against.
It's said truth is the first casualty in an election. If so, Clark and Marsden seem to have drawn first blood.