Glen Clark

From Academic Kids

Glen David Clark (born 1957) is a politician in British Columbia, Canada who served as Premier of British Columbia from 1996 to 1999.

Image:Glenclark.jpg

Clark was first elected to the B.C. Legislative Assembly in the 1986 provincial election.

Clark served as finance minister under New Democratic Party of British Columbia (NDP) Premier Michael Harcourt. He earned a reputation for his often dynamic, socialist-style rhetoric. When Harcourt resigned amid scandal in 1995, Clark was elected by the NDP to replace him. Clark became BC's 31st premier.

Clark called an election in 1996 in which his party narrowly won a majority of seats, despite receiving only a minority of the popular vote.

During his priemiership, Clark worked hard to increased the accessibility of education by lowering tuition fees, and he successfully completed the Island Highway linking many communities on Vancouver Island.

Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Michael Harcourt, who successfully added two large "spirit" vessels to the BC Ferries fleet, Clark undertook the B.C. fast ferries initiative, which was designed to upgrade the existing BC Ferries fleet as well as jump start the shipbuilding industry in Vancouver. Although the ferries were eventually produced, the project proved a dismal failure with massive cost overruns, compromises on ship performance, and long delays. Critics blasted the project as an unnecessary "gift" for Clark's union backers, long a traditional source of NDP political support. Clark's refusal to cancel the program became a focus of public criticism and severely damaged the NDP's popularity.

Clark resigned suddenly on the night of August 25, 1999 following allegations that he had accepted favours (in the form of free renovations worth $10,000) from Dimitrios Pilarinos in return for approving a casino application. He was later formally charged with committing a criminal offence. The subsequent investigation spawned a media circus, infamously highlighted with live coverage of a police raid on the Clark household.

Although an independent inquiry found that, on a balance of probabilities, he did not benefit from the relationship because the renovation was declared to be not meeting building code and had to be demolished and rebuilt. The judge ruled that he was just getting a hand from a neighbour and, he was acquitted of all criminal charges in August 2002. The judge ruled that "there is nothing in his conduct that crosses the line from an act of folly to behaviour calling for criminal sanctions."

Clark was succeeded as Premier of B.C. by Deputy Premier Dan Miller, briefly, until a leadership convention selected Ujjal Dosanjh.

Clark has since found employment with the high-profile businessman Jimmy Pattison.

Clark left office as one of B.C.'s most unpopular premiers, and the unpopularity of his government was directly attributed to the landslide victory of the BC Liberal Party that swept Gordon Campbell to victory in 2000. The B.C. NDP party continues to work to distance itself from from the legacy of the Clark years in order to regain the support of voters.

External link

BC Supreme Court ruling on the Clark-Pilarinos case (http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/02/12/2002BCSC1267.htm)

Preceded by:
Michael Harcourt
1991-1996
Premier of British Columbia
1996-1999
Succeeded by:
Dan Miller
1999-2000
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