B.C. Liberal leadership hopefuls must distance themselves from Gordon Campbell, political scientists say

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      Veteran political observer Norman Ruff boils down to four words what he considers the winning message that should be delivered to voters by the politician who will eventually emerge as the new B.C. Liberal leader.

      “I’m not Gordon Campbell,” Ruff spelled out in a phone interview with the Straight. “That should be the gist of the message. Mr. Campbell had admitted that he has become a millstone around the neck of the B.C. Liberal Party. If the party is to rebrand itself, it has to shake loose from the shadow that he has cast over the B.C. Liberal brand.”

      According to the retired University of Victoria political-science professor, leadership aspirants can start doing so by being more apologetic about how the unpopular harmonized sales tax was introduced by the provincial government.

      “There has to be a starting point to show more contriteness on the adoption of the HST,” Ruff said.

      UVic political-science professor Dennis Pilon said in a separate phone interview with the Straight that the “new leader has to try to do something that will say to the voters, ”˜This is different than what we were having before.’”

      “That would say to voters, ”˜Somebody new is in charge,’” Pilon said. “If you want the job, you want to keep the job, then you’re going to have to distance yourself from Gordon Campbell because that’s the guy everybody hates.”

      Pilon noted that the B.C. Liberals have a core of centre-right voters who are simply unhappy with the way they’ve been treated by the ruling party.

      “If the Liberals can come up with a credible candidate, one that they believe in, that they think they can trust, then I think it’s quite possible that the party can romp to another victory,” the UVic professor added.

      Fred Cutler, a UBC political-science professor, said in a phone interview with the Straight that the party could remain a viable brand if it can dissociate itself from Campbell’s legacy.

      “It might be possible to succeed in a leadership race and then to win an election if one said, ”˜We’re not Gordon Campbell’s Liberal party and we’ll listen to the people and we’ll cancel the HST and not let the urban core of Vancouver and Victoria run this province,” Cutler said.




      Nov 30, 2010 at 1:54pm

      I doubt they can distance themselves from Campbell, afterall they all supported the HST, the sale of BC Rail, the piecing off of BC Hydro and selling it, the lies, the hyprocrscy and deceit. How can they say they'll be anything different. I haven't seen a leopard change their spots ever.

      glen p robbins

      Nov 30, 2010 at 3:41pm

      I would add to what I have posted, affirmed by these gents -- that the winning candidate needs to take a pinch - perhaps as much as 6--10% of Kootenay Bill Bennett and mix in with the regular broth -- and present that to the public.

      Here is a bit of advice - from someone who knows what the voters actually think -- don't sell the merits of the HST from here to February 26, 2010---never NOT once. Sell how quickly the new date for the vote is coming and that it is 51% -- not the tricky dicky Campbell talk --- paint 51% on your forehead whilst on TV if you must---AND don't argue against Recall----leave it alone.

      Important advice from The Boss


      Nov 30, 2010 at 4:15pm


      Yet hear Kevin Falcon said today "I believe Gordon Campbell will go down in history as BC's best Premier".

      How is it possible that the Premier with the lowest approval rating in the history of the whole country would go down as the best premier? In addition I wouldnt consider this distancing himself.

      Fool me once

      Nov 30, 2010 at 4:38pm

      That will be difficult with their lips surgically attached to his butt. The entire crew of schmucks are a bunch of sycophants.

      glen p robbins

      Nov 30, 2010 at 5:03pm

      NDB -sometimes a candidate just stinks because they don't have any perspective - they get packaged for the media and beyond that it fragments into sloppy Joes.

      Jim Van Rassel

      Nov 30, 2010 at 6:46pm

      Even if Gordon Campbell went Poof and disappeared like a fart in the wind, the lingering stench has permeated every piece of Liberal fabric is this province. The unicks from his inner chamber reek of fear and would do and say anything to save Emperor Gordo's *Face. *( I should have said (honor) but he has non)
      Jim Van Rassel
      Coquitlam BC

      Alan Forseth

      Dec 1, 2010 at 9:44am

      It is impossible, for those who have sat at the same Liberal cabinet table, to distance themselves from policy they all came out united on. The face on each of the Liberal Cabinet Ministers that comes out to present themselves as the next Premier may look different, but underneath they have all stood for the same things. And if they have a different story to tell now -- then which is the real face of the BC Liberal party


      Dec 1, 2010 at 9:30pm

      Forgive me but this headline is almost comedic in its self-evidence.


      Dec 1, 2010 at 10:21pm

      The Liberals have to be in panic mode, with recalls starting they have no choice but to either call a very early referendum or cancel the HST.
      Campbell is still in charge, although in a covert position, and I can see no change in their position. They will fight the voters

      I am expecting them to go down fighting to the last MLA, very honorable I guess, but I saw we should accomodate them to the fullest.

      Just make sure you get rid of all of them.

      its me

      Dec 2, 2010 at 12:38pm

      With the NDP showing it's true colors I think any decent liberal politician can pull out a pretty strong campaign to win this province. I hate to say it but charisma will be big. Tell the people what they want to hear with a smile and the votes will come. This province has a history of this working thats why they promise and dont deliver no matter what party wins.