|B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (Carmine Marinelli/QMI Agency)
VANCOUVER — On the heels of an historic election in Alberta that saw the province’s right wing fractured, the BC Liberals are considering serious changes to avoid the same result at home.
Political strategist and former federal Tory MP John Reynolds said Tuesday the party is looking at a name change and has actively started courting organizers and right-wing voters before the May 2013 election.
“Those of us who are conservatives are going to make sure that everyone on the conservative side will be with us,” he said. “(B.C. Conservative leader John) Cummins may not be on board, but the voters will be.”
The pressure has been amplified on the BC Liberals since the emergence of the BC Conservatives on the right side of the political spectrum. The Liberals lost two seats last week in a crucial byelection that saw vote splitting on the right and the BC NDP with two new MLAs.
Premier Christy Clark has ramped up the call for people who voted BC Conservative to support her party as the only credible choice for “free-enterprise” voters.
Cummins is not worried strategic voting in the next provincial election will sink his party the way it did the Wildrose Party in Alberta Monday night. Cummins said Tuesday he would still not consider a merger with the BC Liberals.
“There is just nothing to partner with the BC Liberals. The only solution (they) have to their problems is to somehow convince the BC Conservatives to come their way. They haven’t sat down and said where we have gone wrong.”
Reynolds acknowledged the name change has been on the table in the past but is now being considered because of how well Cummins has done in recent polls. The party has also planned a policy convention for the late fall or early winter that will see a meeting of minds on the right.
“I believed a convention was necessary to do it all along, (Cummins) just put it to the forefront. The byelections last week proved to us the necessity,” he added.
The NDP won seats in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope on Thursday where the Liberals finished second and BC Conservatives third.
An Angus Reid poll before the byelections revealed the growing divide between the NDP and the two parties at the centre-right of the political spectrum. The survey found 41% of British Columbians intend on voting NDP in May 2013, while the Liberals and Conservatives are knotted at 23%.