OUR VIEW: Name change not a solution

We say: B.C. Liberals will still smell the same under new name

Marc Dalton, Maple Ridge-Mission MLA, thinks his party, the B.C. Liberals, should change its name.

He says the name – in place since the provincial Liberals formed in 1991 (and the one voters have elected to govern three consecutive terms) – is confusing to some centre-right voters, now that the B.C. Conservatives have surged to solid third-party status.

Dalton says those who are federal Conservatives, like himself, will have a hard time voting B.C. Liberal next time. Last month, the NDP won two B.C. byelections, in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam. The Liberals came second in both. The Conservatives third.

The Liberals fear further vote splitting – or message sending – in the May 2013 provincial election. But changing the party’s name won’t prevent that. Doing so would seem even more confusing to voters, which may be the point.

It’s easy to see why the Liberals would want to rebrand the party, distance itself from past scandals and failures, try to reverse falling popularity.

But whatever the Liberals come up with – the B.C. Alliance Party is being floated about – it’s still the same cast of characters who brought you the B.C. Rail and HST fiascoes, among others. Whether or not Kevin Falcon and other cabinet ministers run again isn’t going to change that. And changing the party’s name, to something more progressive, won’t erase the past, or fool many. B.C. doesn’t need a new centre-right party – it already has two. The B.C. Conservatives beat the Liberals to the punch. Trying to decide between the two is what’s confusing.

Are the Liberals about families or business? A tiger can’t change its stripes. Changing the party’s name is just painting over them.

As long as the B.C. Conservatives are around, the right will be split. And that’s what the NDP is counting on.

– Black Press