So long BC Liberals, hello BC United: B.C.’s opposition party unveils new name

Click to play video: 'BC Liberals officially change to BC United'
BC Liberals officially change to BC United
What's in a name? Well, Kevin Falcon and his party are about to find out. Out is the BC Liberal Party name and in is the new BC United, with a fresh teal and pink logo. But as Keith Baldrey reports, it's unclear if a fancy rebrand will be enough to beat the NDP and come back to power. – Apr 12, 2023

Goodbye BC Liberals, hello BC United.

British Columbia’s Official Opposition officially unveiled its new name and branding Wednesday evening.

The name change was approved last fall, with 80 per cent of members voting in favour of the rebrand.

“I said from the beginning, when I ran to be leader of this party that I wasn’t going to do it unless the party was prepared to undergo really big renewal,” party leader Kevin Falcon told Global News in an interview.

“Really its all about making sure that everything we do going forwards is speaking about the bold public policies that we want to do, making sure this is a really big tent that people feel welcome under.”

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Along with the new name, the party has adopted a new logo and new colours — pink and teal.

Falcon said he felt the new colour scheme was a “little bit of a nod” to the party’s history, in the form of an updated version of the red and blue traditionally associated with liberal and conservative parties.

Click to play video: 'BC Liberal Party looks to rebrand'
BC Liberal Party looks to rebrand

“But to me its more important that they don’t represent any of the established political parties, because I’ve always said 96 per cent of the public are not members of political parties, they don’t ID with political parties, they’re just normal people trying to raise their families and meet their family budgets.”

The name change comes after the party’s defeat in two consecutive elections to the BC NDP, following 16 years in power under the BC Liberal name.

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BC NDP Premier David Eby, speaking at one of multiple government media events staged Wednesday, took a shot at the opposition over the rebranding.

“For the priorities of the BC Liberals, their priority right now is to change their name, I definitely understand why,” Eby said.

“I don’t think it will change their legacy in the province. For us, we’re focused on housing, public safety, making sure that health care is there for people and that we have a strong economy that works for everybody.”

University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford said the rebrand comes with potential political opportunities for Falcon and BC United, but will be “a difficult balancing act.”

Click to play video: 'BC Liberal Party changing name to BC United'
BC Liberal Party changing name to BC United

The BC Liberals have traditionally relied on a coalition of free-enterprise supporting Liberal and Conservative supporters, who Telford said come with different values and expectations.

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Dropping the Liberal moniker will likely appeal to the party’s base in rural and Interior B.C., where voters tend to back federal Conservatives and may have been uncomfortable voting for a party with Liberal in the name.

That upside may be further increased, he said, given current Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s slide in popularity.

Dropping the Liberal name however, could come at a risk with more progressive, urban voters, however, who he said Falcon will need to appeal directly to.

“The way he has to do that is to put forward good policies, but also a commitment to certain progressive values, such as LGBTQ rights and taking the environment and climate change seriously,” Telford said.

“Those are the things that he has been doing in all honesty that will help him reconnect with the voters the party he has lost.”

British Columbians are next scheduled to go to the polls in October 2024, which Telford suggested should give the party plenty of time to conduct outreach and promote the new name.

Falcon, for his part, said he was confident the new branding would connect with voters come election day.

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“Six months ago if you went around to Vancouver residents and said, ‘Have you heard about ABC?’ Nobody would know what you are talking about,” he said.

“But yet what did they do? Ken Sim and his team, they disrupted all the traditional political parties, through them out of office, and won a massive majority.”

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