OUR VIEW: Liberals have edge over the NDP

The opposition is effectively stuck in neutral

With the Liberal leadership race decided and Christy Clark set to take over as B.C.’s next premier, the attention now shifts to the NDP. Or does it?For the New Democrats, who select their new leader in April, Clark’s win Saturday is likely the worst-case scenario. Despite her record during her previous incarnation as a Campbell-era Liberal MLA, much of which she spent as either a senior cabinet minister or deputy premier for some of the government’s most vicious cuts, Clark was in fact the candidate furthest removed from the current regime. She’s been out of politics  since the 2005 election and earned just one current MLA’s support for her successful leadership bid. Clark’s image has softened considerably in her time on the sidelines, while her emphasis on ‘family first’, job creation and tackling poverty also cut deep into typical NDP territory.While Clark gets to work assembling her cabinet team and addressing the issues (and possibly even getting elected), the NDP will be effectively stuck in neutral (just as the Liberal government was in recent months) as the party’s leadership hopefuls hash out their own positions and attempt to garner both in-party and general populace support. While the New Democrats will undoubtedly use Clark’s earlier political record as fodder for attacks on her leadership, the party is at a distinct disadvantage as a ship being guided by a placeholder captain until a new Opposition leader is chosen in two months. While the NDP will attempt to use those weeks to generate new interest through its leadership contest, it’ll be in tough getting public attention away from an already established new premier.– Black Press