Liberals of BC approve process to select a new party name | News

The party’s name change is one of the first major steps newly elected party leader Kevin Falcon is taking to reorganize the BC Liberals.

During today’s party convention in Penticton, delegates present approved Falcon’s proposal to move forward with a name change process and begin consultation with the broader party membership.

“A party of members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives is a better and stronger party. The name of the party should be one that reflects a diverse and inclusive grand coalition,” Falcón said.

“When I announced my candidacy for the leadership of the party, I made it clear that, as part of a broader renewal process, I would seek the opinion of party members on the possibility of changing the name of the party. Today’s vote grants permission for the party to explore possible alternatives.”

The consultation process began immediately today with the launch of a online survey. The party executive will set up a name change committee with a mandate to set final deadlines and the consultation process.

Each party member will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed new name or keep the current BC Liberals name by the end of 2022.

The name change was a key platform promise Falcon made earlier this year as he participated in the party’s internal race to select a new party leader. He believes that changing the name, along with various other external and internal reforms, will put the party in a better position to regain its control of the provincial government. The next provincial general election is expected to be held on or before October 19, 2024.

The BC Liberals had a majority government between 2001 and 2017. While they won a minority government under the leadership of Christy Clark in 2017, a coalition government-like deal between the BC NDP and the BC Greens ended the long and uninterrupted run of the BC Liberals as the ruling party. In the October 2020 election, the BC NDP upgraded from minority status to majority government, with the BC Liberals ending with their lowest seat count in three decades.

Unlike the formal affiliation between the BC NDP and the federal NDP, the BC Liberals are not affiliated with the federal Liberal Party of Canada, currently led by Justin Trudeau. In 1987, the BC Liberals ended their formal affiliation with the Federal Liberals. The BC Liberals see themselves as a big tent of federal Liberals and Conservatives.

The party previously considered changing its name twice: in 1996 and 2013. Both times, the main goal was to end the confusion that the party was affiliated with the Federal Liberals. In 2013, the idea was rejected by party members because they were still winning elections at the time. “Who would change their brand when they have managed to dominate the market?” then party leader and Prime Minister Christy Clark asked.

Last month, Falcón won the by-elections for the Vancouver-Quilchena binomial, which gave him a government job as head of the opposition. Andrew Wilkinson, the former party leader, resigned as MLA to ride in February to give Falcon the opportunity.

With files from Rob Shaw.

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