Announcing plans to begin construction on a bridge replacing the George Massey Tunnel in 2017 (an election year) is like promising an eight-year-old girl a pony for her birthday as long as she’s good.
You’ve got to hand it to Premier Christy Clark. Even though her party handily won last May’s election and won’t head back to the polls for another four years, and even though she’s cancelled the fall sitting of the legislature for the second year in a row, meaning that by the end of this year the B.C. legislature will have sat for a dismal 36 out of 579 days, according to the Globe and Mail, dating back to May 31, 2012, Clark acts like she’s still on the campaign trail. A photo-op here, an “important” announcement there. Could there be a Hamish sighting in the near future?
How else can you explain Clark’s keynote speech to the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities on Friday where she announced her government’s plans to begin construction in 2017 on a fancy new bridge to replace the traffic clogged bottleneck that is the George Massey Tunnel. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find much love for the aging and outdated tunnel, which has been responsible for many an hour stuck in traffic listening to CBC The Early Edition’s Rick Cluff’s static-y baritone as he flirts with sports announcer Scott Regehr.
While Clark was naturally vague on specifics, including costs and whether it would be a toll bridge — you know, the kind of details that would inspire opposition to such a project — there’s no doubt it was a calculated move, considering its timing. 2017 would be an election year, and a massive project such as replacing the much-maligned George Massey Tunnel (“the worst bottleneck in the Lower Mainland,” according to Clark) is like promising a pony to an eight-year-old girl before her birthday. If you’re good, Mommy and Daddy are going to buy you a new pony. And who doesn’t want you to have a pony? Maybe the mean ol’ NDP, that’s who. Not to mention the fact that the hefty tab and likely cost overruns for said pony won’t show up on Mommy and Daddy’s credit card bill until long after the election.
It’s ingenious really, or perhaps just carefully calculated politicking in the form of a shameless publicity stunt. But hey, look at that pretty little pony.