A FRIEND and acquaintance asked me yesterday, “If the BC Liberals are Liberals, then why do they use Federal Conservative ‘blue’ so prominently on their signs and advertising? Isn’t the Liberal color supposed to be Red?”
Let me say, before going further, this individual has not lived in Canada for all that long, and so someone asking the question made perfect sense.
I said to them, and I’m paraphrasing now:
Now the Liberals were Liberal in every way … the Conservatives were Conservative in every way … and the CCF was the people’s party made up of socialists, unionists, and what I’ll call social democrats.
With a Conservative / Liberal coalition government falling apart, and the CCF threatening to take the reins of government, a plucky Okanagan fellow (and former Conservative MLA) by the name of W.A.C. Bennett became Premier of the province when the Social Credit Party won the majority of seats in the 1952 provincial election.
Thus began a non-traditional party (Liberal or Conservative) gaining the reins of government in British Columbia … and doing so for a very long time. The Socreds governed center right as conservatives, however with just enough liberal impact to keep both liberals and conservatives happy under one tent.
With only a few exceptions of short-lived NDP governments, Social Credit held the reins of power until the election of 1991, losing again to the NDP. What followed was the rapid collapse of Social Credit within just four short years … and within just a few more years it basically had collapsed into obscurity and become a non-entity in B.C. politics.
And with that, began the rise of the BC Liberal Party — which was not affiliated with the federal Liberal Party, and instead was more conservative when campaigning, governing more from the left while in government.
And again the call for the centre, and the centre-right, to stay united became the mantra of the day. And so they did — the BC Liberals, with high-ranking federal Conservatives and federal Liberals in their ranks took the party over.
It has, however, always been a shaky unhappy marriage as multiple times true conservatives have tried to rise again (in 1996 as the BC Reform Party under the leadership of former Socred MLA Jack Weisgerber) … and again in 2013 with former Reform / Conservative MP John Cummins under the banner of the BC Conservative Party). Both efforts failed dismally.
Sadly, those of the conservative ilk are hard to keep together … the old saying of trying to herd cats comes to mind. With each failure came more splits until there are, or have been, over a dozen different parties formed on the centre-right — NONE with any success. And again each failure only ends up with something else trying to gain momentum on the right.
So honestly, “What’s a guy like me to do?” And I am sure I am not alone in asking this question.
We have Liberals campaigning as conservatives during election … and then governing as reckless fiscal liberals once the campaign is over and they are back in Victoria.
The New Democrats, while saying they are pro-labour, are against almost every resource development opportunity that comes up. And then there’s the Green Party — who are most certainly ARE against every resource project — period, end of story.
I had almost convinced myself that I had no choice but to hold my nose and vote for the Liberals, and Todd Stone, here in Kamloops-South Thompson. Sure enough, however, the Liberal campaign team decided to come up with a bonehead idea that was, and is, nothing but childish in nature.
They’ve been following BC NDP leader John Horgan around to his events and setting up ahead of time with a big moving / delivery type truck with a large banner going super negative of Horgan. Seriously … are they that worried about losing that they have to go that negative … that they have to act so immature?
I can’t support that kind of campaign, or a party that would allow a leadership team to okay that kind of campaigning.
One things for sure … social media has not been kind to the BC Liberals on this matter, and I’m glad to see that.
So again I ask … what’s a guy like me to do … along with anyone else who happens to be a true BLUE fiscal conservative?
We have no strong Independent candidate that can gain our support, and I can’t stand the idea of not voting. That is a right which I have, only through the blood of others, in wars fought for us to keep our democratic rights.
Unless something major happens, to turn things around in what and who the BC Liberals are, then I will indeed go to the polling station on election day. I will, however, mark a big X through the ballot to show my displeasure with such poor options (at least in political parties) presented to us.
Sadly … it will be a first for me, but I see no other choice given the current crazy world of B.C. politics.
In Kamloops I’m Alan Forseth.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada, the B.C. Reform Party and the B.C. Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.