Monday, March 04, 2013

The Real Problem For BC Liberals

It's not the low poll numbers or the ethnic voter outreach controversy, the real problem for the BC Liberals is that there are BC Liberals who want a problem.

Considering it was just 2011 when the federal Conservatives' ethnic voter strategy made headlines it's more than obvious that the current outrage against Christy Clark and her party is at least partially manufactured; by the NDP to score points, by the press to sell papers, and more importantly by BC Liberals still sour their candidate didn't become leader.

The recent "scandal" for the BC Liberals centers around a leaked memo that outlined a plan to win over targeted ethnic groups by using government resources. Christy Clark has said that the plan was never acted on and that no public money was used for partisan purposes. No evidence substantiating the allegations has been provided and a review is underway.

The importance of this incident is not the ethnic voter outreach, all parties have such plans, what's important is what has caused this problem, and that's BC Liberals, from riding presidents to MLAs, looking for an excuse to criticize their leader and, in some cases, to leave the party.

To see how this has nothing to do with the BC Liberals leaked memo and everything to do with the ulterior motives of a few party members compare the present situation to the one involving the federal Conservatives just two years ago.

It was only in 2011 that the federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney admitted to using government resources in an ethnic voter strategy to prepare for a pending election. When the news broke there were no calls for Stephen Harper to resign, there were no Conservative members demanding the Prime Minister to apologize, and there were no MPs criticizing their party leader.

Fast-forward to today where the British Columbian government is in a similar situation, well except for one important difference, there's no evidence of wrong doing. But of course there is another important difference and that is the federal Conservative membership was united around a leader that had already won two elections.

Fresh from a contentious and close leadership race, without yet an electoral victory to unite them and only polls to divide them, it is not surprising, though shameful, that some BC Liberals have eagerly used this perceived scandal to weaken the party, and consequently its election chances.

Though most parties can survive external threats, few if any can survive an internal one. If the BC Liberals hope to win the next election they need to prevent the factors that caused members to become disenchanted in the first place.

Christy Clark needs to combat the pervasive attitude of defeat within the party. She also needs to work with former foes and a divided caucus, though former leadership rivals Kevin Falcon and George Abbott are not running for re-election, Clark would be wise to collaborate with her MLAs and make every attempt, even the most desperate, to ensure they feel a part of her government.

The BC Liberals have many external problems, but not doing anything about their real internal one, will only lead to more.


The Rat said...

You are seriously comparing one letter on the wrong letterhead to a plan to use government employees to collect data for the Liberal party? And on top of that we see a concerted effort to avoid FOI by using personal emails and verbal meetings with no records? It's no wonder the BC Liberals are going to lose huge. said...

The Rat,

Considering there was actual proof against the Conservatives and none against the BC Liberals, I agree with you, it is wholly unfair to make that comparison.