B.C. Liberals say a new brand may save party

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      The outgoing executive director of the B.C. Liberal Party says there’s “heightened interest” in finding a new name for the organization.

      According to Chad Pederson, this is being driven by members who want a label that is “reflective of our coalition”, a reference to the provincial party’s reputation as an alliance between federal Liberals and Conservatives.

      “This discussion, which has been more something that would happen occasionally between friends in a social setting…is now taking place at our party’s local board meetings,” Pederson told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “It’s really become something where more people are discussing it in a more formalized setting.”

      However, the B.C. NDP’s Vancouver–West End MLA, Spencer Chandra Herbert, says that any such makeover will not work. “It sounds like they’re trying to go into witness protection,” Herbert quipped during a phone interview. “People change their names when they’re trying to hide from their past.”

      That change may come in the fall, when B.C. Liberals hold their convention. Premier Christy Clark has said that she’s not opposed to having a new name for the party.

      This is happening against the backdrop of the crack that opened in the right end of the political spectrum after the recent emergence of the B.C. Conservative Party. There are calls for the two parties to find a way to cooperate to prevent New Democrats from winning government in the 2013 general election.

      Marketing professional Hector Bremner noted that it’s going to be a challenge to pick a brand that will stick. He’s a B.C. Liberal who wants to be nominated as candidate for New Westminster.

      “A name change or no, the party is in a very strong position moving forward,” Bremner told the Straight in a phone interview.

      This confidence is echoed by former B.C. Liberal leader Pat McGeer. Long retired from politics but still active in the academic world as a medical researcher, McGeer indicated that Clark can pull off a victory in the same way that Alberta Progressive Conservative premier Alison Redford fashioned an upset over challenger Danielle Smith of the Wildrose Party.

      “Look at what happened in Alberta,” McGeer told the Straight in a phone interview. “If you believe the polls, she can’t. If the polls are wrong by 20 points, as was the case in Alberta, she’ll win easy.”

      Redford trailed Smith in the polls leading up to the April 23 election, the results of which defied pollsters’ predictions. Clark and her party are currently lagging behind the NDP in the polls, but the situation in B.C. is quite different. Where Redford and Smith are both firmly on the right, Clark and her Liberals not only have to catch up with the left-leaning NDP, they also have to fend off a raid from the right by the B.C. Conservatives.

      However, McGeer doesn’t believe the B.C. Liberal Party needs a name change. For the 1975 election, he merged the party with the rebuilt Social Credit party.

      “That doesn’t accomplish anything,” he said about a new brand. “The B.C. Liberals, as a governing party, have to convince the public that they are better off voting for them rather than voting for the Conservatives.”

      When the party held its leadership contest last year, McGeer donated to the campaign of Kevin Falcon, a known federal Conservative and now provincial finance minister. Asked if a victory by Falcon, and not the federal Liberal Clark, would have tamed the B.C. Conservative challenge to the right-wing base, McGeer responded: “That’s speculation. Whoever took power had a difficult task because a lot of baggage was inherited. That’s what happens when you’re the leader. You inherit the baggage. So the leader takes credit if things go well, takes the blame if they don’t.”

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      8 Comments

      Sounds Like

      May 3, 2012 at 6:37am

      the British nuclear plant Sellafield. Or was that Windscale? One of the most famous rebranding failures. For the BC Liberals this idea is futile and actually may backfire double-fold because the BC electorate are quite likely to take such a renaming as a complete insult to their intelligence. Does Premier Christy really imagine that voters will forget the B.S. the province has endured under their watch just because they get a new logo?

      SPY vs SPY

      May 3, 2012 at 6:52am

      OK so I got 2 suggestions for the BC Liberals as far as name changes.

      The BC Conservative Reform Alliance Party BC - CRAP

      Or Yah go with a well known BC flower name like Alberta

      The BC Skunk Cabbage Party

      31 9Rating: +22

      Island Girl

      May 3, 2012 at 6:59am

      wow they REALLY think we are stupid...

      Cowboy Bob Here

      May 3, 2012 at 7:39am

      Seen's Yall have'n some problems with your veyr popular Commies in Lotus Land, I thought to help out my Fellow Conservatives with your Name Change problemo's.

      So look people like these Eco - Green Baloney names like Wild Rose. Now their aint nothing wrong with a Fried Baloney Steak Sandwich, as my Newfie friends call it.

      So borrow some Alberta Plant names and this way you'll be affiliated with the Alberta Conservatives.

      OK, so there's the "Crab Grass Party"

      The "Wild Oats Party" wink - wink,Yah know what I mean.
      Old Folks will get this one.

      And the best one for BC

      "The Stink Weed Party", now that's a winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      the same old Gimmies

      May 3, 2012 at 10:33am

      And if I am far right, which the party is the Gimmies are going to get their just rewards during the next election as people toss the Liberals out on the turf. It is hard to believe the party got themselves voted in the last three elections with help from the media of course but no amount of marketing will help the Liberals who haven't realized Gimmies never get.

      apparently

      May 3, 2012 at 1:31pm

      It isn't how the Liberals handled the government of the province but instead a marketing ploy to change their image with a name change to give the same old Liberals a new look while headed in the same old direction. It is bothersome that the priemer puts so much faith in marketing rather than in her government's performance which is oh so obvious meets with much disapproval as "me first" about sums the Liberals up as voters see it fittinng to put the Liberals "last".

      16 9Rating: +7

      violet9ish

      May 3, 2012 at 4:05pm

      this rose, by any other name, would still smell like Stephen Harper's ass.

      glen p robbins

      May 6, 2012 at 5:02pm

      The only chance they have is the distraction of Christy Clark resigning - that's it.