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ROTHENBURGER: Change of name for BC Liberals will accomplish little

Kevin Falcon. (Image: BC Liberals)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WILL A CHANGE in the name of the BC Liberal Party usher in a new era of popularity for the party? I doubt it.

It’s no big surprise that party members attending a convention in Penticton this past weekend voted to start a process for coming up with a snazzy new, yet-to-be-decided name. But what will it accomplish?

Party names are seldom changed just for the sake of change. Occasionally, there’s good reason, such as when parties merge. A new name was in order, for example, when the Canadian Alliance, formerly the Reform Party of Canada, joined forces with the federal Progressive Conservatives and became the Conservative Party of Canada.

And when Alberta’s Wildrose Party merged with the provincial Progressive Conservatives, the name United Conservative Party was adopted.

Sometimes, though, rebranding is nothing more than an attempt to change public perception. Remember the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation? It was founded in 1932 and was better known simply as the CCF. After some electoral successes, the party faithful feared it was becoming too publicly associated with socialism, so changed its name in 1961 to the New Democratic Party.

Did it affect how the public felt? The NDP today remains clearly recognized as a leftwing party and the name change likely had no effect whatsoever on its political fortunes.

The BC Liberals, though, are basically attempting the same thing with this name change. Some party members worry about being associated in the public’s mind with the federal Liberals even though there’s no connection.

But British Columbians don’t think about Justin Trudeau when they vote provincially. They think about a BC Liberal Party that is fundamentally conservative in nature. They’ve got it figured out.

If they like the party and what it’s done in the past, or if they don’t, a different name isn’t going to convince them to vote one way or another.

At the end of the day, BC Liberals will always be BC Liberals.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (8956 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on ROTHENBURGER: Change of name for BC Liberals will accomplish little

  1. The “baggage” of a time past would be better fought with some well-thought out new policies rather than a silly name change. New policies for health care, education, the environment and law and order.

  2. Denis Walsh // June 13, 2022 at 1:29 PM // Reply

    I agree with Kevin Falcon… they need to distance themselves as far as possible from Trudeau and this broken Federal Liberal Government, which has nearly doubled the federal debt since they came into power in 2015, instituted unethical mandates, and ran an unnecessary election in 2021 that should have disappointed EVERYBODY.

  3. Putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t disguise the pig it just draws attention to it.

  4. Although yes, the vast majority of voters know full well that there is no connection between the BC and federal Liberals … I had an exchange in a chat forum during the last BC election, where a person said they just couldn’t “vote for the BC Liberals because they just cant vote for Trudeau”.

    The response to this person was large, vitriolic and well … expected, but it does show that there are people out there that need clear lines of understanding, and word usage like capital L liberal matters, as all some people can do is mark their X on the ballot.

    If the parties platform really isnt even small L liberal, then why run with a moniker that neither expresses their ideology, or is confusing to a subset of voters that they would like to attract? Having any barrier whatsoever towards expanding a base vote, these days has to be looked at seriously.

  5. The BC Liberals are not Liberal, or liberal….they stole that name to disguise their conservative right wing narrow nature and agenda, but the BC NDP has more in Common with the federal Liberals…..note the parliamentary voting patterns.

  6. The irony is that they are not liberal….

  7. Ian MacKenzie // June 13, 2022 at 5:43 AM // Reply

    – – – or the same party by another name. And so the political carousel continues.

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