B.C. Liberal Party name change to BC United builds bridges to the future: Falcon

B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon reacts to the budget speech during a press conference at the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon lowered the curtain on the British Columbia Liberal Party Wednesday, ushering in BC United, a new name and branding for the political party once led by premiers Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark.

Falcon, who championed the name change during his leadership campaign, said it was a bold bridge-building move and voters would have 18 months to become familiar with the new name before the 2024 fixed election date

“This is very exciting for me,” Falcon said in an interview before the official announcement to party members gathered at a Surrey, B.C., hotel ballroom on Wednesday.

“It is not often a major established party that had a name for 30 years has come forward and said we’re going to do a complete shift and a total new direction,” he said. “I’m excited about that. I like it.”

The new party logo is designed to represent a stylized bridge with the words BC United, he said.

The logo replaces the party’s former primary colours of red, blue and yellow with pink and teal tones that still reflect the party’s legacy but with shifting emphasis, Falcon said.

“The colours to me are so great because they are just so not political colours,” he said. “It represents the new, vibrant fresh approach. That was really important for me when I thought about the party when I was running to be leader.”

The party announced in November that 80 per cent of Liberal members voted to proceed with the name change to BC United.

Falcon said reconsidering the party’s name was a priority during his leadership campaign where he promised full-scale renewal.

Debate about changing the party’s name has been around for decades as some members worried about a perceived — but inaccurate — connection to the federal Liberal party.

“Ninety-six per cent of British Columbians don’t belong to any political party and too often we talk about voters as if they are members of parties,” Falcon said. “Most people aren’t Liberal, aren’t Conservative or aren’t NDP. They are just people. They’re looking for leadership that is going to get results.”

The name change to BC United and the new look reflects the political, geographical, social and cultural diversity throughout the province and within the party, he said.

“To me, and to us, it represents the building of all the traditional differences people think about in a broad, diverse culture,” said Falcon. “You’ve got religious differences, ethnic differences, socio-economic differences, but this is sort of how we can unite and those differences become a strength, just like a bridge.”

He said he’s certain B.C. voters have enough time to get used to the BC United name ahead of the scheduled fall 2024 provincial election.

BC United is confident NDP Premier David Eby will stick to his previous promises that he will not call an early election, said Falcon, adding the party will be prepared if that changes.

Former NDP premier John Horgan called a snap election in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, winning a majority and reducing the Liberals to 28 seats in the 87-seat legislature.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2023.

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