Opinion

Editorial — Coleman sticks with the party

Rich Coleman still has “fire in the belly,”and that‘s a good thing for the BC Liberals on many levels.

Coleman is one of the hardest workers in the B.C. cabinet and he is also a prodigious fundraiser for the party. Both talents will be needed a great deal in the next six months, as experienced cabinet colleagues are leaving and the party needs all the help it can, in order to have a chance at winning the election in May.

Few people give the party much of a chance, based on recent opinion polls. But Coleman remains an optimist, telling The Times that he believes the party still has a chance to win a fourth straight term.

What seems most likely, should the current poll numbers remain fairly constant until voting day, is that the BC Liberals will elect an opposition caucus of 10 to 15 MLAs, to go up against a gargantuan NDP caucus of close to 70 MLAs. That caucus will need experience to guide it in opposition, and it is quite likely that Coleman will be one of the most experienced members of that caucus.

He is far more likely to retain his seat than is Premier Christy Clark, who barely won her Vancouver-Point Grey seat in a byelection last year. Coleman gained over 15,000 votes in 2009, compared to 7,492 for his NDP opponent, Gail Chaddock-Costello.

Coleman several times used the word “coalition” in his interview with The Times, and he is more likely than some Liberals to jettison the party name if that means attracting more votes. He also has a no-nonsense approach to politics, and one suspects that after the election, he will be a major player in trying to work out a permanent arrangement with the BC Conservatives, who have good poll numbers right now, but also have a limited chance of electing many MLAs.

The Chilliwack byelection, in which the Conservatives put forward a good soild candidate, showed that the party has little organization on the ground, and that’s essential in getting out the vote and winning seats.

Coleman will also be a formidable voice in opposition against an NDP government, as he knows many government files intimately, given his plethora of cabinet responsibilities. He has also been the House leader and is thoroughly familiar with the complexity of the B.C. legislature.

His decision is a rare piece of good news for the party at a time when it can use some.

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