The punditry are saying the BC Liberals’ latest ad – featuring Christy Clark’s family and son – is aimed at regaining women voters. If so it’s a big miss.
The ad is certainly conservative with it’s nostalgic and cynical shout out to the pre Mad Men world of working dads and homemaker moms.
A clue to this is the way the ad rewrites the career history of Clark’s own mother, referring to her as a “stay-at-home” mom.
The BC Liberal website says Mavis Clark had a career as a “family counsellor”.
Both are true. As Frances Bula describes Christy Clark’s mother in an article for Vancouver magazine, “Mavis Clark quit her job as a hospital dietitian to raise her children, [but] she moved beyond that ’50s cliché in later years. She founded Burnaby’s first nonprofit daycare, cofounded the Burnaby Family Life Institute, and earned a grad degree in human behaviour from a college in Spokane before working as a marriage and family counsellor.”
In the real world, not the BC Liberal ad world, Mavis Clark’s life is a good description of a transition most families made in post war North America. Daughter Christy and the Liberal brain trust opted to reduce that to the “Leave it to Beaver” cliche of the stay-at-home mom, when Mavis Clark was obviously much more than that.
After this trip down partial memory lane, we peek in at Clark’s relationship with her own son. Clark is seen holding him while she reflects on the meaning of their relationship: “It keeps me connected (big important pause) to everyday life,” Clark concludes.
I guess that means you self absorbed singles without kids – or worse, childless couples! – are just going to have to wander around disconnected as you live out your meaningless lives.
Worse, I don’t think what she claims is true. If Clark were actually connected to the real world she wouldn’t have used her son in the ad.
No parent in politics that I’ve have ever worked for or known – from either side of the house – would have permitted or participated in an ad that featured their kids.
And folks involved in the day to day lives of politicians know why: the world is full of bullies and creeps. And politicians’ kids are cruel and easy targets for them.
Putting your kid in a TV ad to improve your electoral chances is the opposite of “family values.” And I think all voters, not just women, will get that. In a very odd way, this latest ad reveals everything we need to know about Clark and it’s not very pretty.