By Promod Puri
The Liberal Party of British Columbia is almost a replica of the Conservative Party of Canada. Its leadership and memberships’ behaviour and supporters’ temperament coincide with the federal Conservatives from top to bottom in the party’s rank and file.
British Columbians, who are conservative in their political thinking, also have a strong leaning towards the provincial Liberal Party
The roots of the BC Liberal Party go as far as the early part of the last century. It ruled the province as well for several terms during this period. But the party almost collapsed in 1952.
Most of its elected politicians and members joined the right-leaning Social Credit Party. The conservative “So-cred Party” dominated BC’s political scene for decades.
Meanwhile, a rookie but a maverick teacher-turned politician, Gordon Wilson, revived the Liberal party that became the official opposition in the 1991 provincial election.
With the rise of the Liberal Party under Gordon Wilson, the Social Credit Party soon faced its demise. Its leadership and the party’s membership saw their political future in the Liberal Party. A sort of revolt happened when Gordon Campbell forces dethroned Gordon Wilson in 1994.
All along with its recent history, except during the period of Gordon Wilson, the BC Liberal Party has seldom been liberal, rather more conservative in its outlook and policies. During Wilson’s leadership, the party got an image more akin to the federal Liberal in its centrist ideology.
Soon, that image got erased as Campbell became its leader and started moving the party more towards the right. In 2001, the party won the election with the biggest landslide in BC history, taking 77 of 79 seats.
Pro-business and corporate policies followed, and the party ever since has enjoyed committed support from the business community.
Since then, the BC Liberal’s portrait matches quite well with that of the Conservative Party of Canada.