Brad Bennett is hitting the election road again with BC Premier Christy Clark.
Bennett, the son and grandson of former Social Credit BC premiers the late Bill Bennett and W.A.C. Bennett and now the head of B.C. Hydro, said he plans to reprise his role as volunteer advisor to Clark during the upcoming provincial election campaign. And, just as he did four years ago, he said he will be riding the campaign bus with Clark during the 28-day campaign.
“The premier did ask me to get involved again, to consider it, and I agreed,” said Bennett following a speech to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. And he added he will not be stepping away from his duties as chairman of BC Hydro while helping Clark on the campaign trail.
Four years ago, in a stunning political comeback after many pundits predicted Clark and her BC Liberals would lose the provincial election to the NDP, Clark credited Bennett as a major reason why she and her party were able to pull out the win. She praised Bennett for his advice during the latter days of the campaign, saying he was with her daily on the campaign bus as she travelled the province drumming up support.
Following the election, Bennett was named the head of B.C. Hydro, which has just one shareholder, the Province of BC.
On Wednesday, Bennett rejected any contention his participation as a close advisor to Clark during the upcoming campaign, while continuing to serve as the head of one of B.C.’s largest Crown corporations—a job Clark appointed him to—would be a conflict of interest.
“We all have our right, and I would argue our obligation, to ensure we have a thriving democracy,” said Bennett. “And what I would do in this instance is no different than what any other Hydro employee would do, or should be encouraged to do, quite frankly.”
He added he feels everyone should get more involved in politics. “Not less.”
As for helping the woman who appointed him to his current job win re-election and would then likely keep him in the same role, Bennett said he works for the ratepayers of BC Hydro, and his job is to serve their interest.
But, he added, his plan to advise Clark is no different from any senior executive of any company exercising what he called “their democratic obligations and duties.”
As for his role in the election campaign, he said he will not be paid and considers himself to be just an advisor.
But he said he will once again travel with Clark during the campaign.
“I will be on the bus again. On the road again,” he said with a smile.