transcript: Christy Clark, August 20, 2018.
(INTRO) DAVID HERLE: Christy Clark is an impressive politician, brought in from the outside by a Liberal Party that was flat on its back, and dead certain to lose the next election to the New Democrats.
She did indeed lead them to one of the most surprising and impressive electoral victories in Canadian history. She leaves office undefeated because it took a coalition of New Democrats and the Green Party to oust her from office, despite the fact that despite the fact that she won the most seats in the most recent election campaign.
Watching Christy from afar, in her time in office, I was always curious about two things: one of which is how she was managing and how comfortable she was presiding over a coalition of the centre and the right.
And second of all, as I worked with Kathleen Wynne, and saw what was going on, I wondered how Christy was dealing personally with the vitriol directed toward, and the judgments that are rendered on women in political leadership.
We’re going to talk about all those things and a bunch more on The Herle Burly today as we’re privileged to have as our guest the 35th Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark.
HERLE: I am joined today on The Herle Burly by the thirty fifth premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark. In addition to being the former premier of British Columbia she is a longtime friend of mine and I'm thrilled that she's decided to join us on the show today. Christy welcome.
CLARK: Yes thank you. It's nice to talk to you David.
HERLE: It's always great to talk to you. So I know you really well but let's give our listeners a little bit of a sense of who you are and where you came from. You are a native of a British Columbia. Grew Up where?
CLARK: I grew up in Burnaby. I'm a suburban girl. You know Burnaby, when I was growing up, Burnaby,,like everything in Vancouver or in Toronto -it's become a lot more expensive than it used to be because it's just adjacent to Vancouver. But when I grew up there it was very lower middle class. Pat McGeer came to visit - he was the leader of the B.C. Liberal Party for a while when my dad was running for them. He came to visit our house he was a notorious snob from the west side of Vancouver and he sent his son out to go look around the neighbourhood while he was meeting with my father and the son comes back and he says: So son, what did you see out there? What did you learn about the neighbourhood? And the boy says "Dad, it is decidedly lower middle class."
HERLE: The son says this? That's a very class conscious young man.
CLARK: Apple does not fall far from the tree. My mother was so disgusted she said, I never want that man back in my house. It was pretty weird, but it's true. It was two blocks from Ocala prison which was the notorious provincial prison. We used to have a clothesline out the back because back in the day nobody had clothes dryers. The prisoners, when they would escape, which happened fairly frequently, they would always steal my dad pants and shirts and underwear and things off the line. And you know my Dad always used to say, well you know at least they're not sticking around.
HERLE: Were you lower middle class?
CLARK: Yeah probably. I mean my dad was a schoolteacher. My mum didn't work. We had one car. She had no driver's license. I think by today's standards it was decidedly lower middle class. By Pat McGeer's standards in the west side of Vancouver it was. But I think at that time you would probably have called that middle class. You know, everybody had a lot of kids. Life was expensive. You didn't take vacations. You had one car. It's just that the standards have risen so much now. Everybody take their kids to Hawaii, you know.
HERLE: The expectations are a lot higher. The other thing must be, you owned a home, right? CLARK: Yes. My mom and dad bought a home off my grandmother. My grandmother passed away. No no sorry, my dad's brother passed away of an aneurysm when he was 20 on a football field. And so that insurance money that my grandparents got bought my mum and dad their first home and that was mortgage-free. Isn't that amazing? And it was like 16 grand, right? The house was sixteen thousand dollars brand new suburb in Burnaby.
HERLE: Well that's also something Jagmeet Singh could afford... is he going to win in Burnaby? CLARK: People think so. Pollsters think so. I don't know. I mean, as you know David, I mean, I know I'm saying this to a pollster. I don't believe the public polls very much. I mean I know that the private polls for us were always - the ones that you've done I've seen privately - are always spot on, but the public ones that I've seen suggest that he's going to win. It tends to be an NDP riding. It's got lots of South Asian population in it. And you know the thing is, about Jagmeet Singh... I know the mainstream media doesn't take him seriously. They don't think he's you know very good or whatever. I've never met him or heard much about him personally but the South Asian community here really - there's so many people that admire the fact that someone who wears a kirpan and a turban and is an orthodox Sikh can make it to be the leader of a major political party in our country. And so I have seen tons of people who are friends of mine, whose mums and dads - they've always voted B.C. Liberal or they've always voted federal Liberal or Conservative - they're going to the NDP because he can... Just that fact commands respect and the community wants him to be successful. So I think there's going to be a real intensity amongst the voters.
HERLE: Really? Well, that'll be interesting to watch because that's the bet the NDP made when they chose him. But it hasn't really looked like it's going to work out like that up till now.
CLARK: But you know it's by election too. So I don't know if he could win a general election there but I think in a by election, you're going to have every New Democrat from across the country out there working in the riding and I just I feel like it's his to lose, but maybe I'm wrong. You know maybe... the vote splits are weird, as you know, in B.C. So it adds a level of some unpredictability to it. I don't know how much the federal Liberals are investing in it. Trudeau was out last - but he wasn't in Burnaby a whole ton I don't think, so I don't know. You know, David, the thing is is that I have the luxury of not having to be a strategist anymore, so I just kinda... You know what? I don't know why you're asking me this question? I should be asking you this question.
HERLE: You grew up in Barnaby. You know the place - that's why I was asking.
CLARK: Yeah well, you know? I grew up in Burnaby, and this is how great I am at Burnaby. There's four ridings there, and we lost every one of them in the last provincial election. And I thought we had fabulous candidates, and we did actually. Really good candidates that matched the demographics and they'd been working. You know they were real community people. One of them was a superstar in media, and we lost them all. So I'm probably the wrong person to ask.
HERLE: In my tiny little attempt to get elected at something, when I ran for President of the Young Liberals of Canada, I won every region of the country except Saskatchewan. So, I know that phenomenon.
HERLE:Let’s get back to you. Most Of my listeners are not from British Columbia and probably do not understand the nature of the B.C. Liberal Party which is a unique beast in Canada. Could you take a couple minutes and explain to us what the B.C. Liberal Party is.
CLARK: The closest comparison is the Quebec Liberal Party, David. I'm sure you'd know way more about how they're different. But it's a marriage of convenience between federal Conservatives and federal Liberals that's existed since the 50s under different guises. And what we've had to decide over the years that we're going to set aside all those issues that divide us which are legion, you know gay marriage, for example. I'm in favour of gay marriage. I'm in favour of a woman's right to choose. I'm in favour of supporting transgender bathrooms, and things like that. Lots of people in my party weren't, but we don't talk about those things, and we don't execute on those things, because the only way to keep the NDP out of power in this province is if we band together and work together. The NDP base in B.C. is at least 35 per cent - that's their base that they're working from. So if Liberals and Conservatives don't come together and vote together for the same party - and sometimes we hold our noses to do it for our candidate or the leader or whatever - they will always be in government and they are... You know, people who care about the economy here and care about jobs, that's what holds us together.
HERLE: The other western provinces don't have a need for that coalition. They just have Conservative parties and the Liberal parties become irrelevant in those provinces. What is the need? Why do Conservatives need Liberals to beat the NDP?
CLARK: Because the NDP base is so big. I mean is there any other province in Canada where the automatic base for the NDP is 35 percent?
HERLE: Probably Saskatchewan.
CLARK: Maybe Saskatchewan. Well, they've got the SASK party right? Which again is a coalition of Liberals and Conservatives - or at least that's what Brad Wall tells me.
HERLE: Yeah at the beginning.
CLARK: Yeah yeah. You know and of course now, Justin Trudeau has moved the federal Liberal Party significantly to the left and out of the middle. So he's taken lots of those federal Liberal voters out of the realm of the SASK party or the B.C. Liberal Party which makes it harder for us to stick together right. And I think in Saskatchewan and in BC, federal Liberals are often right of centre or traditionally have been often right of centre which makes that coalition easier. Paul Martin was huge hugely popular out here with Conservative voters, for example. because he was just seen as a really smart business guy and you know he slayed the deficit and all that stuff. So it's you know the NDP numbers are huge you can't beat them if you don't if you don't come together and federal Liberals out here tend to be a little bit more right wing than they are in other parts of the country. And I mean in Ontario the NDP here some often irrelevant.
HERLE: So you said that everybody sort of sets aside the things that you can't agree on and works on the things that you can agree on. What are some of the compromises that you know you as a very comfortable federal Liberal. Many years ago. What are you what are some of the areas which you had to compromise on to be part of the party that were difficult for you?
CLARK: I didn't get to do as much on social issues as I would have liked. You know, I would have I mean a I have always been a champion. I've thought of myself as a champion for the LGBTQ community, as an example. And I'm a feminist. And I absolutely believe in a woman's right to choose. I mean that abortion hasn't been much of an issue for us here. But I think, for example, sex ed education, I think Kathleen Wynne was taking the right course on that. And we couldn't. Those are issues that are really hard for B.C. Liberals to approach in our province. And so I would say there that's a compromise. But you know on the other side I recognize and respect that my Evangelical friends, and I have many, feel very strongly the other way and they also put aside their agenda in order to be a part of what we're doing. And that's just been the nature of our party for a long time. So we're still making lots of social progress like carbon tax. We've been a leader in the country and in some other areas: adoption by gay parents. You know kids kids in care and those kinds of things. Huge strides we've made with First Nations people and agreements. But I wish I could have been more of a public champion for a lot of those issues because they feel so strongly about them. But it's not really within the reach of a premier in British Columbia. And you know interestingly the NDP don't really approach those issues very comfortably either here.
HERLE: Right, but you feel for instance, had you marched in the Pride parade that the electoral consequence of that would have been significant.
CLARK: Well actually I did march in the Pride parade. Almost all the years - until the NDP kicked me out of the Pride Parade. But yeah I did it while I was Premier. Absolutely. And I've marched in the Pride Parade for probably half the last 20 years even when I wasn't in public office. Because I was an anti bullying advocate and gay kids LGBT kids get bullied mercilessly at school and their risk of self harm or suicide is way higher and mental illness is way higher because of it. And that's just not fair. Like we should be changing attitudes about that. And there's no so those that's kind of where I come out. There's I just really very strongly feel like every single person deserves to be treated like a you know like an equal and and needs to be treated- deserve decency, whether or not we agree with the way they live their lives. You know I'm kind of a libertarian on those issues. I think it's none of my business how someone lives their life. If they if that's who they who they want to be and they're not hurting anybody.
HERLE: Well that puts you pretty much in the mainstream of the Liberal Party on those issues. I would say, yes.
CLARK: And in fact that was what moved me. You know that's really why I became a liberal in the first place because I really do care about those those issues of people's individual rights. And there is an obligation in society for the majority to protect the minority. I feel really strongly about it - and you know I am also, we're a majority in Canada but women feel sexism every single day and it holds us all back. And it's not fair. And so I live it and it's not exactly the same but I can connect in a way I think that a straight white guy probably couldn't.] HERLE: Right. Where do you think the federal Liberals are moving too far left? Is it on uneconomic policy? Is it on identity politics? Where is it? CLARK: I think it's on the economy. I don't think that they're paying enough attention to economic growth and to trade issues. And I you know I don't mean any disrespect to Chrystia Freeland cause I just think she has done an absolutely fabulous job. But I don't think - you know the government's reoriented itself on trade issues - but it felt like a little bit too late for me given what's been going on for these last many months and I feel like their tax changes have been terrible for our competitiveness. The carbon tax changes came at exactly the wrong time. And were done very very badly. Dumping more taxes on top of the economy. I think that their approach to natural resources has been mostly hostile which is you know which is our bread and butter in Canada and they don't seem to care about, have a plan for, reducing the deficit. Competitiveness is so important for Canadians and for jobs. And I feel like they just came in. I don't think they really had a plan for the economy, and I don't think it's really something that their cabinet - the makeup of their cabinet - reflected very strongly. There weren't a lot of people in there who had a lot of economic experience. There were hardly any Paul Martins, I don't think, in the cabinet. And you know I feel like they lost the plot. And Canadians are going to really start to feel it. Now that's been a big problem. I think the one the identity politics stuff.,, You know, I agree with them on most of that stuff. I agree with it, but I feel like most people would say, OK fine, good, we get it. Can you please think about jobs and the economy and trade, because that's really the bread and butter for most voters and most citizens.
HERLE: You mention natural resources what have they. What have they done wrong there? It's kind of it she would say that because you know Trudeau came into this job really not wanting to be his father on that issue. This is a guy that early on in his leadership went out to Calgary and said, there will never be another national energy program. That was a bad policy. I don't support it. I'm not for it. This is a guy that said, no country in the world would leave this energy in the ground. Really tried to position himself as different and more receptive to the Western economic base than his dad had been seen to be and yet he seems to ultimately get embroiled in the same situation.
CLARK: Well I think because people in the West really felt like the government was talking to totally separate topics because on the one hand you write all the things you said are true. But on the other hand they went really slowly in approving say LNG for example. They went really slowly in clearing up and getting going through the Kinder Morgan approval which they didn't need to. And then and then on the other hand they were talking about all this climate policy stuff which is frightening investment away. Energy East being the primary example of that. And so it's put a real chill on investment in the country and natural resources. In Calgary, they tell me that their foreign investment is down by 50 percent while it's up by I think 30 percent in the States at the same time. So what do you know what's happening is investment which is where we know which is what creates the jobs is moving south. It's a direct line because of government policy around climate change, around tax change. And you know so yeah on the one hand they they've been talking about it. On the other hand it doesn't seem to have been happening fast enough and their kind of working at cross purposes with all the climate stuff. That's how most people would perceive it out here. And you know at the end of the day most people go Oh right. You said you were going to do it where the hell is it? Where is it? I actually think that the Kinder Morgan solution that they came up with is the best, the second worst solution that they could have had. So the worst would have been nothing. So at least there is a solution. But I think having government build a pipeline when government can't even figure out how to pay its own employees is probably not going to be the most certain outcome.
HERLE: But, had they just let it die. Have they not done that it just would have died.
CLARK: No I agree. Its the second worst outcome cause that would have been the worst outcome. The best outcome would have been to get the approvals done, to stand strong in the face of the many foreign funded environmental groups. And to say, no we're getting this done and we're going to stand by it, and we're going to be tough about it. We're going to do it fast. Everybody saw this storm coming and everybody talked about it. But it all kind of got left till the end when Kinder Morgan threw up its hands and said we're out of here.
HERLE: Sounds to me like you don't really believe in the concept of building social license. You not believed to be you don't think it's really possible so government should just get on and approve things and get them done.
CLARK: No I do believe in that, in fact that's how we got LNG there. We spent five and a half years building socialism for LNG. Now, fair enough. The Harper government didn't build social license for Kinder Morgan before it happened. But the new federal government didn't really do much around that either. And so you know you've gotta spend the time making those agreements and finding a way to make things work. There's always a way to do it. But the other thing is, you will always have opponents as long as our competitors in Russia and Qatar and the United States want to make sure we don't get oil to market. There will always be people who can find work opposing what we do.
HERLE:Sorry, draw those links for me. What's the connection between those countries and any protests in Canada.
CLARK: Well there's a lot of people who believe that many of our environmental groups in Canada receive foreign funding. They won't disclose whether or not they will. And you know I think if the Russians interfered in the American election in favour of Donald Trump which we know that they did, is it so hard to believe that the Americans or the Russians would be interfering in our ability to try and be able to get our resources to market when they're direct competitors. So you know that aside...Building social license does not mean getting 100 percent support. Building social license means doing the right thing, getting community support, making sure that you're supporting First Nations and respecting their rights, and getting giving them a piece of the pie and all those things that as Canadians we need to do as part of reconciliation. But it's folly to think that you're going to get 100 percent of the support because you never ever will.
HERLE: Let's talk about your government. You were the premier for six years. That's a long time. That's a lot of decisions that you've made over a period of time. What's the legacy of Christy Clark as Premier?
CLARK:Well, I'm proud to say that LNG looks like it's going to go ahead. We got that when we spent...
HERLE: Let's assume that somebody might not know that LNG is. Let's just dumb that down a little bit.
CLARK: Liquified Natural Gas. For our listeners we have more gas in Alberta and British Columbia more energy stored in gas we think than they have any oil sands. So that's the amount of wealth that's sitting there and what we need what we need to do is frack it out of the ground and put it in a pipeline right from the northeast of the province to the coast in the Northwest, liquefy it, freeze it basically, put it in ships and send it to Asia. So we can get it off shore because there is a huge abundance of natural gas in North America. You can't sell it to the States really because we just can't get a price for it. So it could have a massive impact on the national economy just like just like oil has especially as countries like China are trying to get over to clean fuels so they can meet their climate change target. So every one of these project is like a 30 to 35 billion dollar investment, which is just huge in and of itself. We spent, I swear five and a half years, trying to get this six year almost trying to get it done. And we got it all lined up. The bottom fell out of the market. The NDP said they weren't going to do LNG. And so when the government changed, I thought, oh my gosh that's five and a half years of work all down the drain - and then they changed their minds. So it looks like you know because the NDP changed their mind, so it looks to them as the market improving like LNG is going to happen which I would consider to be.. I would be so proud of that legacy. And the other one of course is Site C which is a huge dam in the north east of British Columbia - hugely controversial - been on the books for 50 years. Our government got it done, got it started. The NDP said that they, again, wanted to cancel it and so fingers crossed they got the government and then again they changed their mind. So Site C is going to happen. LNG is going to happen and you know we we were the most successful province in the country for the last three or four years I was premier. Most jobs. Most economic growth. All those things I feel good about. On an individual level I feel great thinking about people going to work and just that more people were able to live independent lives, look after the people that they love, you know not be unemployed have the dignity of a paycheque that you know I don't know if it's a legacy because governments can change and unemployment can change and in all those kinds of things. But I feel good about that part.
HERLE: I personally am worried about, when I watch phenomenon like Trump, and like some of the things going on in Europe, that if people no longer believe that the system works for them, that they can achieve a comfortable middle class life through the economic system we have, that the basic foundation of support for liberal capitalist democracies could disappear out there. I'm worried about all that but all of that to me means that ultimately despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about top marginal tax rates of over 50 percent, etc, we're going to have to have much more significant redistribution of income than we have right now.
CLARK: I think that's true. And I think you know one of the things... I think that that's true but I don't think that that's necessarily just raising taxes. I think if you close tax loopholes... You know is there are there are ways I think to redistribute money through the system if we also look at the horrible inefficiencies that we've built into the system. So for example the Canada Health Act. It absolutely forecloses any innovation that provinces can make in terms of health care. And so what's what's going to happen. Our health care system is going to get harder to access for everybody. And at the same time we're going to end up with robbing Peter to pay Paul. We are going to be putting you to putting a billion new dollars into the Ontario health care budget probably will make a small difference for people but where's it going to come from? Environmental Protection? Child Protection? Education. You're going to really feel it in the ministry the environment when that's where it comes from. So that's the problem that people don't see I don't think is that no matter how much you tax people you can only get so much money into government before you start to shrink the economy and start getting less. And then you have to start redistributing money within the budget because you've got to pay for this ever growing hungry you know voracious health care system that we have. And we don't confront that as Canadians. Politicians are all scared to talk about it. Nobody wants to do anything about it. But it's I think I think our hope of being able to redistribute income better is going to be - that's going to be the primary obstacle to it.
HERLE: Because it just keeps growing and growing it's sucking up any money that becomes available. Well that's what it's doing now. It's only going to get worse. You know, I also though, on the Basic Income, I think we should be asking ourselves what happens to a society when there are a class of people who just don't work. Who are never expected to work. I mean that's a fundamental societal change that we should really think about because I don't know what effect that will have. I really do. I see it. I used to see it every day: the dignity that comes with someone having a paycheque and doing some meaningful work. You know the friends that they make and the wives that they meet, and coming home and setting an example for your kid? Like all that stuff, what happens when we grow the class of people who aren't doing that everyday? Nobody's answered that question. HERLE: It core to people's self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Absolutely. Nobody aspires to a Basic Income. The issue is aren't we going to have to redefine what we value? And what work is? Because it isn't going to be physical labour?
CLARK: Yeah that's true. But you know, the thing about a Basic Income is, the discussion starts because we're assuming there are going to be a lot more people who need it. So how big is that class of people going to become and how will that change our society? No one's answered that question and I think it's worth asking and it's worth trying to find the answer to.
HERLE: I think I've told you this story before but let me repeat myself because it's one of my better stories and that is when I was out in Vancouver say five years ago six years ago doing focus groups with people in Vancouver about what it meant to be middle class and what the challenges and advantages of being middle class were. And I had in these focus groups people that were based on the basis of income and other demographics clearly middle class and almost none of them thought they were middle class. And when I asked them why they didn't think there were a middle class they said because they didn't own a home and they saw no prospect that they would ever owned a home. And that to them owning your own home was a fundamental part of being middle class and Canada. And we actually do see that year in and year out fewer and fewer people are self defining as middle class which has been kind of a foundational point for the country. I think this housing thing is a big deal.
CLARK: I think it is too. I think it's a big problem in the country, cause I think it is a middle class dream to own your own home it always has been. And you know there have been varying rates of homeownership over the years right. You know you can see well my grandparents never owned their home or my great grandparents never owned their home or whatever it was, but I think it's a realistic...I Think it's an expectation that we all have and we all want it for our kids. So I don't I don't quarrel with that at all. I think that we do need to change our expectations of what a home looks like because a condo counts as a home is not a house but it's a home. Something that you own. I think that we need to have way way more supply and I also think that governments need to start doing really imaginative things like zoning for middle class housing because at the moment in Vancouver for example the city has been zoning for luxury homes and poor people who are living on social assistance. So we're a city of the rich and the poor well is the middle class in that? And municipal governments can zone for that and there's places like Barcelona which have set some really good good examples for that. But I also I also think people will need to modify their expectations about where they want to live too because I mean I know my mother was you know she hated it that she couldn't live in Vancouver because that's where she you know she grew up. And she had live in Burnaby. Oh my God. I remember she told me when they first moved in she said, well we won't be here very long before we get back to Vancouver. And she never made it back to Vancouver. She only at the very end of her life where she was incapacitated - she was really sick - and she moved into my house and I was caring for her. So she ended up dying in Vancouver. But that was as close as she got to being back in Vancouver. But it's a big it's a huge problem. And you know it's a big problem around the world like in London New York Manhattan you know Sydney Australia middle class housing is increasingly hard to come by. And so part of its expectations but I think a big government does have a role in it and it's just it's not easy to solve. [
HERLE: I really wanna talk to you about a big topic now which is women in politics and particularly women in positions of political leadership. You won two elections because I consider that you won the second one; didn't form the government but that's a different matter. She won two elections so that's pretty, that's impressive, and that maybe belies the point that it's difficult to be a woman in politics. But at the same time I know that you faced a lot of personal animosity and a lot of anger that was directed at you personally. I was involved obviously with Kathleen Wynne here in Ontario. You know I've been in politics my whole life I'd never seen anything like that. Now I've seen unpopular politicians before but I had never seen anything like that. Now part of it's probably social media and the license and the opportunity that gives people to say what we talked about earlier which is to see things they wouldn't have said in other circumstances. But the level of vitriol that seems to get directed toward women and the personal nature of it feels to me very different from what men face in political leadership they can be unpopular but in way differently ways. CLARK: Yeah. I mean so as you know Kathleen Wynne and I were not on the same policy page by a long shot but I mean dealing with her over the years I really did respect her ferocity and her dignity her sense of fairness that she was a very principled person. And I know that that goes contrary to what everybody... the narrative post-election. But I thought she was a she was a good person. And you know and a respectable person, worthy of respect. My experience of that was I was sitting there on election night in a in a restaurant in Toronto. We were out for the Griffin Poetry Prize program and some teachers were sitting in another table; they recognized me; they came over to say hi. And I said how are you voting in the election? And they said, well I'm not voting Liberal. Why not? You're teachers. Teachers have been a base for the first for the Liberals for a long time in Ontario. Why not? They didn't say because we don't like what they she's done with education. They didn't say taxes are too high or hydro. They said - all of them - and these were women. "We just don't like Kathleen Wynne" right. Why don't you like her. I don't know. There's just something about her. I just don't like her. Which was resonant for me, cause people would say that about me all the time. Not to my face because people were polite. But that was kind of the narrative. And it's a problem that women have. And my theory David is when women can be one of two things: men get to be nice and likeable and competent. You're allowed to be both. But for women when you're nice and like all people think you're weak and when you're strong and competent people don't like you. And that's exactly what happened to Kathleen. She was fierce. She was strong. She stuck to a gun and people didn't... If people didn't vote for her because hydro, okay fair enough. But when I talk to people in Toronto that's not what they said. They just said they didn't like her.
HERLE: It's personal. It is personal and it's not something that a male politician would would ever encounter.
CLARK: I'll give you another example. My first experience of this was early when one of the most prominent columnists in B.C. described me as ambitious.
HERLE: Right of course right. It would be assumed and admired in a man. Both assumed and admired.
CLARK: And the context in which he's situated that word made it sound awful. It made it sound like, oh she's ambitious. It's the fairy tale picture of the archetype of that evil stepmother who comes in and will do anything to get power. She will crawl over anyone and kill anyone because she's so ambitious. And what she does is she goes and she ruins the life of the innocent sweet you know all the innocent sweet in the world. And of course a man needs to come in and rescue and all the end of the story. But really that's a classic archetype for women in the workplace. And Kathleen Wynne really felt that. I felt it for sure. And from journalists, you know not all of them, not all of them kind of had that sort of sexist were so violent were as vulnerable to that sexist narrative. But the older more established ones for sure were. And it's funny the number of women that say that about other women.
HERLE: That's the only thing I know that astonishes me. I mean I kind of a kind of understand where the men are coming from: they're threatened. They're living in a world in which women are getting more and more power and authority and they see it as a zero sum game and they don't like it. And I really think that there's a male backlash against feminism going on right now that was crystallized by the METOO movement. And I think we're headed for some ugly stuff. But the women that actually have the same attitudes, I don't understand that. I do not understand how a majority of white women in the United States voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. On the one hand you've got the most unqualified person ever put forward to be president. On the other hand you have one of the most qualified people ever put forward to be president and happens to be a woman. How exciting would this be. And most white women vote for the guy. What is that about Christy?
CLARK: I know, I know. I struggle to try and find a response to that. I've seen Hillary speak post-election. And she won't talk about it. You know this women don't vote for women thing. And you know it's kind of a it's a no-no for feminists to kind of adopt what we feel is sort of a male narrative about women. You know women being catty and blah-blah. But I think I think you know my people have some things to work through when it comes to that. And you know I think part of it is that women - we live lives where only one girl gets to be on the team, and so we spend a lot of time. We grow up in a world where we learn to exclude other women rather than include other women because we're such a rare commodity in most of the decision making rooms. And we see that we know that we absorb that right. Only one woman gets to make it. So you kind of want it to be you. There's sort of an exclusionary thing that young women are too. There's been a lot of work done on the way men and women as girls and boys confront and exclude that you know sort of speak to the sexism in society that we all grew up with and how women and how girls learn to deal with other girls. And you it's sort of a sad picture of little girls who get taught that in order to be successful you have to get rid of all the other girls rather than get on the team with all the other girls. And that there's some there's some research that supports that. There's a lot more work to be done. But I do think women need to start talking about that amongst ourselves. We need to be honest about it and and really confront the fact that you know women did not vote for Hillary Clinton. Women did not vote for Kathleen Wynne. If they had, she'd have won. If we had the same gender gap in her favor with women as we did against us with men. She could have still won. But it's a little bit less clear in my case they would say David because, you'll know this. I mean women are less likely to vote for candidates that they see to the right of centre than they are to the left of centre I think right. Statistically so I was also to the right of centre. I got a lot of men's votes. I did well with male voters. So it's a little more... You know there would probably be a lot of people who would say lots of women didn't vote for me because they thought that I was too right and not left enough on the social issues, which I think is a fair comment. But in Kathleen Wynne's case that's definitely not the explanation.
HERLE: Listen, whether it's Kathleen Wynne, Hillary Clinton or you, if they're voting against you on the basis of policy then that's one thing. But if they're voting against you because they can't envision a woman who was prepared to seek power and be ambitious enough to run the province that's bullshit right?
CLARK: Yeah. And you know the other observation I would make is that this doesn't get discussed in the media enough. And part of it is that the media themselves members of the media, they're people. They are just as vulnerable to the sexist messages that society has been feeding to us all our lives as anybody else. And women don't like to talk about it. Women candidates who lose or who win don't like to talk about it because everybody says it's just an excuse.
HERLE: No nobody wants to be a victim and that's right. It sounds like you're justifying your defeat. And people sort of obviously angrily reject these characterizations of themself as having voted on this basis anyways.
CLARK: Which is why I always which is why do I always add in my case that there were there were other reasons you know that are statistically supported that women would not have voted for me other than the fact that I was a woman. [
HERLE: So Christy you're still very young.
CLARK: How old are you David?
HERLE: Fifty bloody six. Fifty blood six.
CLARK: Four year older, and so I'm 56 then will be very young anymore. Or when you're 60 will I still be very young?
HERLE: you Will always be very young compared to me. And the question is are you really really done with politics or might you run federally at some point.
CLARK: I think after this interview I'm never going to get back into politics. It's all over. It's all said and done. I don't have... honestly, you know the last time I got out of politics which was 2005, when I quit Cabinet and went to radio, I didn't know what was going to happen. But honestly this time I feel like having been premier of the third biggest province in the country, being part of making it the most economically successful place, and LNG and Site C, left us really strong. I honestly don't know if it gets any better than that. I feel like it was a peak experience. And so I think I want to be involved in helping other people especially women be successful in politics. People I really believe in. But I think that's going to be the extent of it. I don't have much interest in going back. It is so hard. Politics is so hard. It's so fulfilling and its so meaningful. Just like anything you know you can't get to the end of wanting to do it after a while because it's just not just not easy, as you know.
HERLE: Well I know a "no" when I hear one and that wasn't it.
CLARK: You know what? I'd use a bad word to call you a name right now. I'm going to refrain. HERLE: Christy, thank you so much for doing this. What a fascinating conversation and a real honour for me to have you on the show.
CLARK: Oh listen David, it was a real pleasure to get to talk to you. You're an old friend and it's nice to be in a post-political world where I can just feel like I can say what's on my mind without getting pilloried for it. So I appreciate it.
HERLE: Well we'll invite you back on if you're prepared to come, you know, periodically and comment on things as they develop in this country because you've got really unique insights.
CLARK: Alright, thank you, I'll look forward to it.
HERLE: Thank you Christy.
CLARK: Thanks David. Bye Bye.
HERLE: I want to thank Christy Clark for being on the show today. And I want to thank you for listening to The Herle Burly. If you get a chance to get to iTunes or Stitcher and give us a rating,
It’s very helpful to the success of this program and to broaden our listenership, so we always appreciate that. We’ll be back shortly with some more guests as we continue to try to shed some light on what is happening in the world around us.Thanks for coming.