Conservatives are not the next thing in B.C. politics

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
August 1, 2017 - 6:54am

KAMLOOPS — Oh, gosh, when will the BC Conservatives give up and find something better to do?

They can’t find a leader and remain virtually and thankfully invisible on the province’s political landscape, yet seem to think that with Christy Clark out of politics there’s somehow a chance people will notice them.

Alan Forseth, whose column “Thoughts on Politics” appears regularly on ArmchairMayor.ca, announced Monday he has rejoined the party, convinced it’s the future.

All the party had to do was ask.

“Those who know me will understand that my heart has always been with the BC Conservatives,” he wrote in his column yesterday. “I hope that the corner has been turned on past difficulties. Let the rebuild begin!”

Good luck with that. The party has put a capital D in disorganized. Inside and out, it’s been a disaster (another capital D), gaining a reputation for eating its young. It couldn’t even find a leader in time to fight the May election, and resorted to endorsing a few candidates under its banner rather than running its own slate. It managed to come up with only 10 candidates, none in Kamloops. The party picked up a half a per cent of the popular vote.

Most British Columbians probably didn’t even realize the party was in the election at all. There was no campaign to speak of, and the Conservatives weren’t invited to the TV debates. In a bizarre move, after electing nobody, they grandly announced post-election they would refuse a coalition with the Liberals. I wrote at the time, “No doubt Liberals everywhere are crushed at the news they won’t be joining hands with a leaderless, powerless, faceless party whose only success so far has been in finding new ways to go absolutely nowhere.” Back in March, Forseth was writing that if small ‘c’ conservatives didn’t want the NDP to win, they had no choice but to vote Liberal.

Indeed, B.C.’s conservatives and Conservatives — who used to be called Socreds — moved over to the BC Liberal party many years ago.

But my purpose here isn’t to make light of Forseth’s politics or his choice of political parties, but to offer a reality check.

The BC Liberals are far from spent as a political force in British Columbia. They won the most seats in the May election and came within a hair of another majority. They have many choices for a new leader, and will rebuild momentum via a high-profile leadership campaign.

The BC Conservatives, on the other hand, have no leader and nobody of any profile in sight.

The BC Conservatives carry a party name with a proud history, but one that has not been a contender for many decades. The last opportunity for a comeback was when Social Credit fell apart in the early ‘90s. The BC Liberals, who did take over from the Socreds, aren’t falling apart.

For months, Forseth has been asking plaintively whether it’s time for a rightwing alternative. The answer is, not any time soon, and if it is, the BC Conservatives haven’t demonstrated they have any right to the mantle.

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