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B.C. Liberals reject motion to change party name

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark speaks during the LNG conference in Vancouver on May 21.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The governing B.C. Liberals ended a 20-year-long debate on Saturday about their identity, as delegates strongly rejected a motion to change the party name.

The party launched a review at the request of Premier Christy Clark, reflecting unease with the "Liberal" tag in a coalition party that is home to a large segment of federal Conservatives.

Ms. Clark launched the review two years ago, when her party was struggling to renew that centre-right coalition. A year later, the B.C. Liberals won a fourth consecutive provincial election, effectively ending the question of whether the Liberal brand was a problem at the polling booth.

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"It's a good brand," said Rich Coleman, a senior cabinet minister who represents the party's Conservative wing. "We can win in 2017 with the B.C. Liberal label."

Former MLA Colin Hansen, who was appointed two years ago to look at the issue, told delegates only 288 members bothered to respond to his consultation.

And even then, he noted, there was no easy alternative because so many other possible names have already been taken.

Liberal MLA John Martin, whose defection from the B.C. Conservative party on the eve of the last election helped patch up the fractures in the Liberal coalition, told delegates that a name change now "would be the most foolish thing the party could do."

With the tone set and almost no further debate, the delegates overwhelmingly voted down the proposal to look at a name change by a show of hands.

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About the Author
B.C. politics reporter

Based in the press gallery of the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, Justine has followed the ups and downs of B.C. premiers since 1988. She has also worked as a business reporter and on Parliament Hill covering national politics. More

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