Clark's risky pipeline poker bluff tough to pull off 0
24 hours columnist Bill Tieleman says Premier Christy Clark's poker play on pipelines in B.C. could backfire. (FILE PHOTO)
In a field populated by hypocrites and phonies, the erstwhile B.C. premier takes duplicity - and recklessness - to an entirely new level. - Warren Kinsella, Toronto Sun columnist
Since B.C. Premier Christy Clark knocked on Alberta Premier Alison Redford's door last week, and yelled "trick or treat" over the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, things have only gotten far worse.
Threatening to egg the Alberta legislature unless the oil-rich province coughed up billions didn't go over well there, nor did Clark sneaking in the back way to meet Redford while trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to avoid the media.
That embarrassing episode and Clark's unwillingness to take a position on Enbridge led one Calgary columnist to write: "Be thankful Christy Clark isn't Alberta's premier."
But it was only when she issued ultimatums at the national premiers' conference that things got really out of hand.
Kinsella - a lifelong federal Liberal who worked for the B.C. Liberals in the 1996 campaign when Clark was first elected MLA - called her a "nation wrecker."
Sun News' conservative columnist John Robson wrote Clark's "desperate attack" on Enbridge was "morally outrageous, economically ignorant and legally preposterous."
And Mark Milke of the right-wing Fraser Institute accused her of "playing a risky and ill-advised game of economic chicken." Carrier Sekani Tribal Council chief Terry Teegee said it was unacceptable the premier was acting like a contestant on TV game show The Price is Right.
Ouch! But the more accurate "game" analogy is poker.
Clark has a lousy hand and is already deeply in the hole.
She doesn't have the political support to back a strong stand, and didn't even register the province to present evidence at the National Energy Board hearings. In addition, Clark can't credibly oppose Enbridge on environmental grounds after negotiating in public for hush money.
Walking out of the premiers' conference while refusing to consider supporting a national energy strategy gave Clark a big media hit but alienated the other premiers.
So her only chance is to bluff well and pray the other players fold without discovering that Clark only holds a pair of twos.
It's a cold, calculated, high-risk gamble that has left many card players hitchhiking their way out of Las Vegas, broke and looking for honest work.
Is Christy Clark any luckier?