Press Pass: Premier Christy Clark striving for political bliss

MARITAL MISS — Premier Christy Clark complained in the legislature this past week that she just can’t seem to please the NDP.

“It’s like a marriage,” she said. “You never know how to keep the other side happy.

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“Sometimes when I’m here and I answer questions, they’re unhappy. Sometimes when I’m here and I don’t answer questions, they’re unhappy. Sometimes when I’m not here and I don’t answer questions, they are happy.

“It’s very hard to keep them happy, but having been through one marriage, I’m determined to make sure that this marriage works better.”

SIMONS SAYSNicholas Simons, the NDP MLA for Powell River and the Sunshine Coast, introduced Sechelt Mayor Bruce Milne in the legislature last week and managed, in the process, to get in a dig at Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

According to Simons, Stone studied public administration and public policy under Milne at the University of Victoria before going on to become the MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson and the minister responsible for B.C. Ferries.

Said Simons: ‘’I’m sure all members here would be disappointed if I didn’t take this opportunity to throw in a shot about [Stone] perhaps missing the class on marine transportation administration.’’

LEFT LANE LAW — The “keep right except to pass” campaign arrived at the legislature in the form of a bill, and it’s a bit more complicated than that.

As explained by cabinet ministers, the eventual law will state drivers can’t use the left lane when there are two to choose from on a highway with a maximum speed limit of at least 80 km/h and the actual speed of the traffic is at least 50 kilometres an hour — unless they’re passing, moving left to allow traffic to merge, preparing for a left turn or moving left to pass an official vehicle authorized to display a flashing light.

Stone said there’s also an exception during times of low volume in rural areas, when drivers may choose the left lane to allow for more reaction time to wildlife suddenly crossing the road. And when only the left lane is cleared of snow, drivers will obviously have no choice.

The previous keep right- except-to-pass prohibition had slightly different wording and carried a $109 fine and three penalty points for breaches. Stone said the government will decide later if that penalty will be adjusted.

He had a stern warning for people who “camp” in the left lane, saying: “I’ve even heard comments where some individuals have suggested that they actually take it upon themselves to self-regulate the flow of traffic. You know, it’s — can you imagine? — their God-given right to slow everybody else down to what the speed limit is.

“It is not up to individuals, almost in a vigilante kind of mentality, to take it upon themselves to enforce the law.”

NDP MLA Claire Trevena said: “I know that B.C. has a reputation of having people who do hold up in the left lane. I’ve driven across Canada a couple of times, and I lived in Ontario for a number of years. It hadn’t really struck me until somebody mentioned, ‘Well, you know, in B.C. we’re the worst,’ and you start thinking about it: ‘Well, maybe, yes, we are.’ ”

POLITICAL MEDDLING — More details about the Medal of Good Citizenship that was promised in the throne speech last month emerged in a bill presented last week.

It establishes the medal to recognize British Columbians “who have acted in a particularly generous, kind or self-sacrificing manner for the common good of other citizens without expectation of reward.”

Cabinet will appoint a selection committee that will recommend people it feels are worthy of the medal back to cabinet, which approves the names.

Cabinet can also rescind the award. If the medal is rescinded, it has to be given back, by law.

Elected officials aren’t eligible while they are in office.

People awarded the medal will be entitled to have prescribed letters placed after their names.

And no, you can’t nominate yourself.

With files from Les Leyne and Lindsay Kines

This is a corrected version of an earlier story

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