Kootenay East MP Tom Shypitka welcomed news that the BC Liberal Party is considering a name change.
“It’s something I’ve been standing for since I entered politics in 2017,” said the BC Liberal politician.
The BC Liberal Party is not affiliated with any federal party, having split from the Liberal Party over 50 years ago. Since then, the parties have diverged so much that the BC Liberals play the role of the main centre-right party within BC, while at the federal level, the Liberal Party positions itself in the centre.
“The name is just misleading, it’s not fair to federal liberals, it’s not fair to federal conservatives, it’s not really descriptive of what the party is.”
Shypitka said the name “BC Liberals” has been a stumbling block in the campaign, and as the federal Liberal government has aged, it has become increasingly difficult to get through.
“It wasn’t that bad (in the 2017 provincial election) because the federal Liberals had just come in, but of course there’s a lifespan for all political parties, and like the lifespan of liberals has worn thin, it comes back to us as if we are tied to everything the federal liberals do, and that is absolutely not the case.
In the electoral district of Kootenay East, the BC Liberal Party has been dominant since 2001, when the seat was changed from the BC NDP to the BC Liberal. Tom Shypitka won re-election in 2020 with more than 57% of the vote – the BC Liberals’ best performance in an election that saw the party lose 13 seats elsewhere in the province.
Asked about the suggested names, Shypitka said he thinks the party should choose a more inclusive name, although a commonly suggested alternative, “The BC Party” is not allowed because another party has registered that name with BC elections over the past ten years. .
“From the start, I liked BC United – it’s inclusive, brings people together. As a diverse province, I think what sets us apart are the things that make us strong. There are many more – BC First, Progressive BC – there could be all kinds of different names, and we’re asking people if they have any suggestions. We want this process to be as engaging as possible.
The BC Liberal Party will be discussing a possible name change in the coming months, with party leader Kevin Falcon campaigning to change the name as part of his leadership bid. The party could go to the next ballot with a different name, with the process for party members to vote on a new name expected to be concluded before the end of the year.
The next provincial election should take place no later than October 19, 2024.
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British Columbia Politics