Opinion Column

Shepard logic hard for public to fathom


You know, we lived through socialism in B.C. for 10 years. I know what it looks like and it is not pretty.

- Jim Shepard, Concerned Citizens for B.C. leader

One can admire veteran corporate executive Jim Shepard for doing what he believes is right - attempting to save Premier Christy Clark by putting his retirement time and business experience on the line to head a political rescue mission.

But he's the wrong salvage operator, who's using faulty "facts" and a counterproductive approach that may backfire on the BC Liberals.

First - get real. When Shepard said in 2010 that B.C. experienced "socialism," he meant the New Democrat governments of Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark in the 1990s.

"Socialism" in B.C. like in North Korea or back in the U.S.S.R.? How absurd.

He should really chat with Glen Clark - the guy who is now president of the Jim Pattison Group - B.C.'s third largest private corporation, with annual sales of $7.4 billion and 34,000 employees internationally.

And Shepard knows Glen Clark well - in 2009 the latter joined forest company Canfor's board of directors while Shepard was still its CEO.

Second, the new Concerned Citizens for B.C. volunteer group leader blames not Christy Clark but the media for her problems.

"Christy has not been given a fair shake. She has not been identified as a competent premier," Shepard says.

"If the media could see Christy Clark the way I see here day in, day out, they'd be singing here praises to the heavens," he told CKNW's Sean Leslie on Sunday.

But apparently what most of B.C. sees in the premier, it doesn't like.

An Angus Reid Public Opinion national poll last week showed she is Canada's second most unpopular premier, with just a 30% approval rating.

However, NDP leader Adrian Dix is Canada's second most popular opposition leader, with a 53%approval rating.

That must really scare Shepard - a hardline conservative who, as CEO of Finning International, moved its Canadian head office from Vancouver to Edmonton in 1999 to spite the Glen Clark government.

But what really bugs Shepard is that average economic growth under the 1990s NDP governments was 3% - far better than the BC Liberals' 2%.

Even Concerned Citizens of B.C. can figure out whose record is better.