Premier Christy Clark shows disdain for 'sick culture' of Victoria

Premier Christy Clark says she tries to avoid working at the legislature because there's "no real people in Victoria" and the "sick culture" is unhealthy.

Clark, whose government cancelled the regularly scheduled fall session of the legislature, blasted working conditions in the provincial capital during an interview with a Vancouver-based columnist for the National Post.

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The interview was apparently conducted before the end of the spring legislative session in May, but republished on Tuesday.

"When the House rises at the end of [May], you're never going to find me in Victoria," she said. "I'm going to be travelling the province for the next year.

"I try never to go over there. Because it's sick. It's a sick culture. All they can think about is government and there are no real people in Victoria, and you get captured by this inside-the-beltway debate, and it's really unhealthy."

Clark's apparent disdain for the legislature contrasts with comments she made while running for the B.C. Liberal party leadership in 2011.

Then, she told reporters she loved the daily cut-and-thrust of question period. After she won the party leadership, she expressed a desire to run in a byelection as quickly as possible to get her seat in the house. "As you know, I love question period and I hate to miss it," she told reporters.

When Clark was resigning as an MLA in 2005, during her first stint in office, she also professed love for the job in her last speech in the chamber.

"I have a deep, deep love of politics. I love question period. I love debate. I love the people I've met. I even love the protesters. I love politics."

The Opposition NDP slammed Clark for her most recent comments.

"It's little wonder that the Liberals have little support on Vancouver Island if they think the people who live here are part of a sick culture," said John Horgan, NDP MLA for Juan de Fuca.

Her view of working at the legislature is also questionable, he said.

"In my view, it tells people she will say anything to get through the photo op or interview," he said. "You wonder if there's anything genuine there at all."

Clark did not respond to a request for comment.

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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