BC United Party
On April 12th, the BC Liberal Party officially became the BC United Party as part of on ongoing branding process that they hope will help them claim victory in the next provincial election.
Since the 1950s, British Columbia (BC) has been, primarily a two-party political system. On the left/centre-left has been the CCF and its successor, the NDP, representing socialism/social democracy. On the right/centre-right has been a series of free-enterprise parties.
The NDP has formed government three times, always due to a spilt on the right, in the 1970s, 1990s and present day.
The primary centre-right party since the mid-1990s has been the BC Liberal Party, which governed for 16 years under Gordon Campbell, a real estate developer, and Christy Clark, a career politician and talk radio host.
Campbell and his party were elected by a coalition of British Columbians who identified with both federal Liberals and Conservatives. When Christy Clark, a federal Liberal originally, won the leadership she was able to hold much of this coalition together. In 2017, a tired BC Liberal government, with a weak campaign message was reduced to a minority. Clark tried to govern but the BC Green Party and NDP formed a coalition and pushed the BC Liberals from power.
In a subsequent election, the NDP won a majority under popular premier, John Horgan. Clark’s successor as party leader, Andrew Wilkinson, ran a disjointed campaign that further spilt the coalition the BC Liberal Party depended on.
New BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon, a former minister under both Campbell and Clark, pledged to let BC Liberal Party members hold a vote on renaming the party as part of his leadership bid. A majority of the party members voted to rename the party BC United, a name symbolic of what the party hopes to do in the next election.
Despite the name change, the party still struggles with issues from its time in government, namely unaffordable housing and real estate in much of the province, and a complicated foreign money laundering scandal that, as government, they repeatedly ignored. Only time will tell if this new name will bring new ideas and faces to BC politics but no one should underestimate the power of a fresh start.