A trial balloon by some members of the BC Liberal Party to change their party’s name has some merit — but it is no substitute for a change in some of the party’s policies, particularly those which have turned off the public in droves.
The BC Liberal Party is in no way related, in actual fact or philosophy, to the federal Liberal Party which is having troubles of its own. It is a coalition party, a fact that Premier Christy Clark and others seeking the party’s leadership earlier this year made abundantly clear on many occasions.
There are some Liberals in its ranks. Clark herself was at one time a federal Liberal, although she hasn’t made it clear if she still belongs to the federal party.
However, there are also many federal Conservatives within BC Liberal ranks. Many of them (and others who do not belong to any federal party) are very uncomfortable with the Liberal name, and it does hurt many BC Liberal candidates, particularly in interior ridings.
There are few really good options open for a new name. Some of the best ones have been taken — such as B.C. Party or BC First Party. The best new name would have no connection to any federal party, and would promote the fact that it is a provincial party.
However, the bigger question for the BC Liberals is how do they deal with the lack of confidence many people have in their policies and actions, such as the imposition of the HST, the expansion of gambling, planned tolls on the Port Mann Bridge or the $6 million payoff to lawyers for convicted ex-staffers Dave Basi and Bob Virk.
Their main reason for existence has been “to keep the NDP out.” While that is still a strong factor for many voters, others are wavering. Memories of the NDP years in power from 1991 to 2001 have faded for many, while others were either too young to vote or lived in other places during those years.
The NDP have challenges of their own, and they don’t involve name changes. New leader Adrian Dix has strong ties to past NDP governments and to organized labour, whose popularity is about par with the BC Liberals.
Both parties need to develop policies that ease the tax burden on working people and seniors, and start listening more to ordinary people, and less to special interest groups.