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Clark on defensive as poll shows B.C. Liberals' support eroding

Premier Christy Clark in Port Moody March 22, 2012.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Premier Christy Clark is defending the political relevance of her B.C. Liberals as the free-enterprise choice for voters despite a poll that has her party tied with the B.C. Conservatives.

During a news conference to tout road construction Tuesday, Ms. Clark said the Liberals have an edge in experience over the Conservatives.

"We have a long history. We have great MLAs. We have really well thought out, well planned policies for the province to take it forward," she told reporters.

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That Ms. Clark, whose Liberals have a healthy majority in the legislature, had to take on the Conservatives, who have welcomed defecting Liberal John van Dongen as their first member in the current legislature, speaks to tough times for the premier.

The Angus-Reid survey, released earlier this week, found the governing Liberals and Conservatives tied at 23 per cent. The NDP leads both at 43 per cent.

Ms. Clark talked past the specifics of the survey, including a finding that the NDP and Conservatives both lead the Liberals among women voters.

She said she and the Liberals will be judged in the May, 2013 election on her job-creation agenda and is content to wait for that reckoning.

"Within the next year, we will really start to see the results of this jobs plan," she said.

"I stay focused on the task ahead and that's creating and protecting jobs in this province."

She said her focus is the economic agenda.

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"As leader, people are counting on me to lead – not to follow the polls."

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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