Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Upbringing, Student Politics Shaped Christy Clark's Views on B.C. Politics, Life

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Upbringing, Student Politics Shaped Christy Clark's Views on B.C. Politics, Life

Article excerpt

Christy Clark has a sweet tooth for B.C. politics

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VANCOUVER - It was the lure of ice cream that first drew Christy Clark into politics.

As a child, the future premier of British Columbia would accompany her father as he knocked on doors around Burnaby during his several attempts for public office.

"He'd promise us ice cream," Clark, 51, said in a recent interview.

"Hi, will you vote for my daddy?" she laughed, miming knocking on a door. "Who's not going to vote for a candidate, or who's at least not going to say something positive?"

Since then, Clark has enjoyed the sweet taste of her own political victories. She is leading the B.C. Liberal Party in its bid for a fifth consecutive election victory after she pulled off a come-from-behind win in 2013.

Beyond her father's political ambitions, Clark's family played a powerful role in shaping her approach to life and politics. Political debate was a mainstay around the dinner table.

"The only way for me to survive and succeed was to fiercely fight for what I believed." said Clark, the youngest of four children. "I learned that at a very, very young age. If you didn't cover your plate ... somebody would eat your food."

Clark would apply those lessons during her time in student government at Simon Fraser University, which she said was "the nastiest politics I've ever been involved in."

She corralled a cohort of right-of-centre students to "break the stranglehold" the left had on the school's student society. Clark won by a razor-thin six votes, but was later disqualified after forgetting to pay a small fine because she failed to remove campaign material.

Andy Tomec, who covered Clark's run at student politics for the campus newspaper, remembers her as a consummate politician.

"I think she got up in the morning thinking about politics, and I bet she went to bed thinking about it as well," Tomec said.

"I don't know if she has an off button."

The budding politician's charisma and disarming smile were renowned.

Mike McDonald, a longtime B. …

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