Liberal gamesmanship carries risks

The BC Liberal Party could find itself alienating the support that has kept it in power for 16 years.

Anyone familiar with an NBA basketball game will recognize the pattern in the B.C. legislature.

With the outcome almost certain, the losing team continues to foul its opponent in hopes that something miraculous will happen at the free throw line.

It never does; the inevitable is only delayed.

The B.C. Liberals continued this tactic in the legislature this week. They made good their promise to introduce campaign finance reforms, and even introduced legislation that would give the Greens official party status.

The opposition didn’t bite, and the gamesmanship continues.

Monday’s moves followed last week’s throne speech that tore pages wholesale from the NDP and Green Party playbook.

That radical about face, which included things the BC Liberals actively campaigned against, drew more astonishment than it did praise. People saw it for what it was: a crude attempt to force the opposition parties to vote against policies they actually support.

It’s a dangerous move.

Perhaps the Liberals are positioning themselves for the next election, which many think will come soon. But this rush to the left is bound to confuse the party’s conservative base. Party insiders may be willing to abandon conservative precepts for strategic expediency, but their supporters may not.

And those voters who waver on the left may wonder why they don’t go all in with the NDP or the Greens if their party is already moving that direction.

The final buzzer will sound on Thursday as the Liberals face a non-confidence vote.

What follows will define the future of the BC Liberal party.

Greg Knill is editor of the Chilliwack Progress

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