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Premier Christy Clark goes off the cuff

The premier talks to The Times about her favourite places to vacation, the book she's reading and her experiences as premier.
Premier Christy Clark talked about the highlights of being premier

Who is B.C. Premier Christy Clark? Clark is the 35th premier of B.C., and the second female to take the office. Clark, 47, served as a BC Liberal MLA from 1996 to 2005, leaving politics and becoming a host of the CKNW afternoon radio show. Winning the leadership of her party in 2011, she has captured headlines on a daily basis ever since.

On her stop in Langley March 25, The Times had an opportunity to sit down with one of B.C.’s most-talked about premiers to find out more about Clark, the person, not the politician. Here are some of her candid, off the cuff answers:

If you could sit down to dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

Clark would have to have a big dinner table. On her list is Michelle Obama, “she would have a good story to tell,” Stompin’ Tom, “he gives voice to the poetry of who we are,” Teddy Roosevelt, “there’s a character”, Margaret Thatcher “she’s been through tough times,” Nelson Mandela and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

On that note, what is your favourite meal? Spaghetti and meatballs.

Favourite B.C. wine? Every wine from Osoyoos Larose.

Not that you have time, but what are you reading right now? “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.” She is one of the most accomplished women in the world, but in the book she admits her flaws.

What you realize when you read it is women all have different lives but we all experience many of the same barriers. She also talks about how it’s really difficult for women to be nice and ambitious at the same time. When women are seen to be ambitious they no longer can be nice. It’s a difficult combination for women to achieve.

What’s playing on your iPod?

It’s kind of embarrassing, but whatever is playing on my son’s iPod. I take his iPod when I run because I like fast music. I still love ’80s stuff. R.E.M. takes me back to my high school days. For modern music, I like Maroon 5 right now.

In high school I was: Fierce. People would say that about me.

Do you have a favourite B.C. vacation spot?

Gulf Islands for sure, but so many places. Every July 1, I will be in Williams Lake for the Stampede and then I want to be on a houseboat in Sicamous or visiting Haida Gwaii, or seeing spirit bears. The whole province is like that. It’s hard to choose.

When you aren’t criss-crossing the province, what do you do to relax?

I do a half-hour run and every other moment is with my son. All I do is work and parent. Sounds kind of boring, I guess. All my non-work time is spent with Hamish. My son plays the euphonium (like a tuba) and I was holding up his sheet music for him the other day and he started to sing the clarinet part and we both just started laughing so hard. It’s those moments I really treasure.

The world would be a better place if people would just . . . remember to be kind. Kindness is the most underrated characteristic. I think if more people would just spend an hour a week in a place of worship, doesn’t matter what religion, being reminded to be kind, to look after each other.

Highlight or best memory of being the premier? Best thing about it is meeting individuals who are willing to share their stories with me, good or bad. But it’s always a privilege to walk a little bit of their journey with them. I don’t think there is any job like it where I get to know people from all walks of life.

In this job I’ve spent time with everyone from entrenched street homeless, to Richard Branson, to stay-at-home moms to people building companies. All of them have equally interesting and valuable insights into life. It’s been enriching.

Hardest part? What’s also been enriching is the criticism I’ve faced. What it really forced me to do was look deep inside myself and discover who I was and what I stand for. If you aren’t tethered to your principles, you can’t succeed past the criticsm. I’m a much stronger, resilient person than I ever knew.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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