Chad Hipolito/THE CANADIAN PRESS photo

Rafe challenges Christy to a debate


I have, for Premier Clark, an offer she can’t possibly turn down.

She refuses to call the Legislature into session because it will only make pundits and politicians (presumably she means those in the opposition) happy. In her view it’s better for the great unwashed if she goes on the road, from time to time, finding out what voters want – I wonder if “your resignation” is an answer she’ll pay any attention to.

It must be observed that the only functions of the Legislature are to pass, at its behest, Government bills and to hold their feet to the fire. It is an unpleasant place for the government because there are people there who can and do ask very embarrassing questions. Moreover, even the tame media are likely to print the questions and answers so that the public can be in the know. As to the uselessness of the system, I refer you to my article in the September 3 edition of  The Tyee, entitled “Martyn Brown’s Tepid Remedy”.

I call the Premier’s utterings – and there is no other word for it – bullshit. She has a much greater obligation than just politicking at government packed meetings and it is to face the public as represented by the media.

Strange isn’t it? When Ms. Clark ducked the Western Premiers‘ Conference (a very important conference I can tell you from personal experience) she said that her obligation was to be in the “House”, not at a conference of western colleagues who had the Enbridge pipeline on the agenda, upon which matter Premier Clark would be forced to comment. Now that we’re in a candid mood, she didn’t have the guts to do it and scampered home to the legislature as a way out.

Now that she has an obligation to place her legislation and policy before an unpleasant opposition and press, she has a greater obligation to miss it and, one guesses, at taxpayers’ expense, make political speeches before safe audiences.

I have this proposition, Madame Premier.

 I am not a politician any more than you are a talk show host. We’ve each moved on. And I can assure you that as I approach my 81st birthday, I have no intentions of returning, even though if I were elected I would be entitled to the pension I gave up when I left government in 1981. (By way of explanation, one needed to be elected three times. Moreover, if elected again, I would have to repay what was returned to me, but believe me, I would do that in a flash.)  

I am not a pundit, by which I assume you mean part of the working media.

Madam Premier, surely even the Liberal Party now must admit that the Environment is the #1 issue in BC. I propose that you and I debate the Environment around the Province so that you can tell everyone what your policy is on Fish farms, highways through agricultural land, private power schemes on our rivers, pipelines (Enbridge and Kinder Morgan come to mind) and tankers on our coast carrying bitumen from the Oil Sands to China and waypoints.

Now, to be fair to you, I’ll debate any other issues that you wish, although I will be at a great disadvantage and undoubtedly be quickly overcome because you are, of  course, the premier and will be much better informed.

I don’t care who chairs these meetings – having been to many private river hearings I know what biased chairpersons are like and though, again, a biased chair will be to your advantage, I’ll take my chances and will do my best to hold my end up.

I will be pleased to pay my way – hotel, vittles, spirits and transport.

If you use these meetings as fundraisers I only ask that The Common Sense Canadian be permitted to pass the hat to cover my expenses.

Madam Premier – I really don’t like to call people in high paces cowards, gutless and words like that which spring to my mind and, I must tell you, to an ever growing BC public when your name is mentioned.

What an opportunity to silence your critics! What a great way to show that you really are an environmentalist who puts the will of the people ahead of large corporations!

Surely you have nothing to lose whereas The Common Sense Canadian puts its entire raison d’être, its very existence on the line.

Name the dates and the locations and I’ll be there.

Let’s do it! 


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at

12 thoughts on “Rafe challenges Christy to a debate

  1. Prepare to be ignored Rafe. I believe Christy Clark is only the hood ornament for a behind the scenes power bass with one thing in mind and to accomplish their objective they must avoid the light of day so to speak. My greatest concern is what we will find after the next election and to what extent we have been skewered by their self serving actions and our failure or inability to bring them to account.

  2. I’m afraid our little Miss Christy doesn’t read anything with the words ‘common sense’ in it. Maybe I’ll send her an e-mail and include your challenge, Rafe.

  3. We’re in dangerous times when citizens in so-called democracies distrust their leaders because they behave as traitors deceiving the electorate. Canada doesn’t feel like Canada to me anymore. It feels like an increasingly abused land that is being pimped out for profit. Clark is a corporatist bully who doesn’t feel the need to answer for her actions. British Columbians have no PM or Premier in power to represent our best interests. We desperately need leadership that will rescue us from this disaster. I’m just afraid they’ll find a way to steal the election before we can join Quebec in sending a strong message.

  4. Excellent but she really does not have the courage or sense to take you up on your more than generous offer.

    Although if you were to tell her that cameras would be present she would probably jump at the opportunity.

  5. Wonderful write up Rafe!
    Is it possible for the citizens of B.C. and the N.D.P to demand that the house sit for the fall session? surely this type of governing from the Libs can’t continue,
    Can we start a petition?

  6. Good luck with that Rafe.

    The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, don’t do one one ones. Nor would Harper, when it comes to the dirty tar sands and Enbridge pipeline. Harper only permits five questions and then leaves.

    When Campbell would open the Legislature. Most of the time, he would bugger off out of the country, and leave his dirty work, for his ministers. Campbell’s ministers weren’t capable of giving the truth. I guess they didn’t dare. Anyone opposing Herr Campbell, lost their jobs. All of them had smart ass mouths and attitudes. They behaved as absolute fools. Certainly below a preteen level. It was far too embarrassing to even watch them, on the Legislature TV channel.

    My niece from Alberta was visiting. I wanted to catch how much the Olympic debt was. My niece was in disbelief, at the behavior of the BC Liberal Ministers. I was so very ashamed of them. That was one of the times, Campbell had fled the country.

  7. Great idea Rafe, although you are about 99 percent sure she will not take up the challenge. She indeed qualifies for a lengthy list of adjectives, none of them complimentary. However I don`t think she is completely stupid. Next she will be telling us she should be Chancellor of B.C. and an election won`t be necessary

  8. will be interesting to hear what her answer will be – actually I don’t believe she will even reply! If she does agree to attend such a meeting it would have to be a huge building!

  9. In the unlikely event she agrees, Rafe, I will offer my services as host/moderator. With 40 years in the media and a term as mayor, I might be well-suited. I will pay my own expenses.

  10. Sorry Rafe, you’re the epitome of a “pundit”. 😉

    pundit noun
    expert, authority, specialist, doyen(ne), master, guru, sage, savant, maven; buff, whiz.

  11. ” cowards, gutless and words like”. Geez Raif, what other words suit her? I can think of a few. Rat, shrew, and skunk come to mind. Although I may take those back. They at least have a function on earth. She doesn’t.

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