Insight BC

Insight and Discussion Concerning What’s Important in BC

Month: February 2016

A True Pyrrhic Victory.

Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who defeated Roman armies at Asculum, 280 B.C.E., but at such cost to his own troops that he was unable to follow up and defeat Rome itself, is said to have remarked, “one more such victory and we are lost.”

This past weekend in Richmond, the BC Conservative Party achieved ‘one more such victory and now is lost‘.  This time quite possibly permanently and without the resources to ever rebuild.

It is hard to imagine that individuals who belong to a political party can be so intransigent and so short-sighted that they lost the war for the sake of ‘winning’ a battle.  That is essentially the synoptic from the 2015 AGM for the BCCP (that had to be held in 2016 for reasons that only an unelected previous Board of Directors can explain).

The results from the BCCP AGM allow me to predict, with very little chance for intelligent rebuttal, that the BC Conservative Party will not be a relevant factor in the 2017 BC provincial election or any election thereafter under its present guidance.

Why?

Diminishing membership that will continue to erode at an increasing rate once one time 4 year memberships expire later this year.  Some calculations indicate a 33% drop in membership since 2013.  This membership decline will accelerate to an unrecoverable attrition level once the ‘losers‘ of the AGM start resigning or declining to renew, ‘en masse’.

A negative net worth with declining monthly donations and contributions.  You cannot fund a provincial election campaign on bombast and self-aggrandization.

A resigned leader that led the BCCP – backwards.  Almost two years of virtually no media coverage and no public engagement.  ‘Dan Who?’ as the Georgia Strait so aptly described.

No understanding of ‘hot button’ issues that resonate with BC voters who are justifiably concerned about the state of the economy – and the future of the province.  Policy is self-serving, out of touch with the mainstream of the BC population and ‘unarticulated’ – to be overly generous.

A widening and unbridgeable ‘chasm’ between two distinct and unreconciled factions within the BCCP.  The ‘winners’ clearly have no political sense or focus as they were willing to watch more than half of the BCCP’s support base walk away from the AGM, unrecognized and unsatisfied.  There was no attempt to compromise before the AGM or during the AGM – and there has not been an attempt at compromise since.  How can a political party ever hope to govern and manage the myriad of factions and challenges that are the political realities when in power – when the BCCP cannot even find a way to compromise and negotiate successful ‘win win’ solutions internally?

The interest in the BCCP’s affairs and status is so diminished that most executive positions were filled by acclamation.  In short, no interested and dedicated parties outside of the core intransigent group even wanted to challenge for a Board position.

If ever there was a formula for political failure and ineptitude, the BCCP is the poster boy.

While any savvy political leadership would have found a way to immediately reach out to the ‘losing’ side in order to at least make an offer to ‘rebuild bridges’ and unite in a common interest to fight a common foe, the BCCP remains closed, silent and isolated – just as it will be before, during and after the 2017 BC provincial election.

There was a reported case of an individual rising from the grave and inspiring his followers with ethics, values and principles that resonated to multitudes and over centuries.  That, of course, was over two millenia in the past.

If I was a betting man, I would be prepared to risk almost all that the BCCP will not provide a further miraculous resurrection.  For a starter, there are grave questions concerning ethics, values and principles.  Further to that, I hardly can see any prospects for divine intervention – and there appears to be little else that may restore respectability to this once great political force in the province of BC.

It is not appropriate to wish that the BCCP ‘rest in peace’.  Instead, it is more appropriate to wish that the BCCP continues to operate in its own self-serving and self-destructive manner, so that forward thinking and resolute small ‘c’ conservatives can ultimately find or create a viable and credible conservative alternative for the voters of BC.

The BCCP has edged one step closer to becoming a postscript in the annals of BC politics.  Will the final determination be made before, or after, the 2017 provincial election?

BC Election 2017 Crystal Ball

The February 2, 2106 by-election results in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain have shown that there is a continued overt expression of dissatisfaction with the performance of the governing BC Liberals.

While it was widely accepted that the NDP would win the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant riding with a savvy female First Nations candidate who pushed all the right emotional buttons for a voter base interested in sending a social democratic message to Victoria, the biggest surprise was perhaps the relative strength of the Green Party candidate who finished a distant second with more than 26%  popular support.

The governing Liberals garnered a mere 11% of the popular vote while the BC Conservative Party was MIA (missing in action).

The Coquitlam-Burke Mountain riding was perhaps a different story.  This was a riding held by the BC Liberals –  a so-called ‘safe’ riding.  Of course, you can ask the incumbent Premier Christy Clark just how safe former BC safe ridings can be – as she was decisively defeated in her own home riding of choice at the 2013 election.

The vote went to the NDP candidate with a comfortable victory margin.  The Libs finished second with the Green Party steadfastly maintaining its single agenda support with 13.5% of the final ballots cast in their favour.  Again, the BC Conservative Party was missing in action.

What is the relevance and what do these results forecast going into the 2017 BC provincial election?  Probably not a lot.  There is typically a concern and a dissatisfaction between scheduled election dates and it is not uncommon to have the ruling party of the day receive a mild rebuke from voters – but there is plenty of time for the BC Liberals to figure out a clever way to reverse the perceived current fortunes of the NDP.

Is there a wild card that may be played in 2017 to change the anticipated outcome?

Possibly.  That wild card may, in fact, be the BC Conservative Party that currently languishes at the effective bottom of the barrel as perceived currently by BC voters in opinion polls.

With the somewhat acerbic John Cummin at the helm, the BC Conservative Party polled as high as 23% prior to the 2013 provincial election.  After electing no MLA’s in 2013 and after an election campaign that was generously described as ‘disastrous’ by some pundits, Cummins resigned amidst a bitter party divide that continues to this day.

Why does this matter to BC politics?  Perhaps it does not.  There is, however, a dim and distant light on the horizon and a prospect, albeit faint, that the BC Conservative Party can restore some legitimacy and some credibility to BC voters heading into the 2017 election year.

The source of the possible revitalization and resurrection is the AGM scheduled for February 20, 2016 in Richmond.  While most of the activity concerning this AGM is internal and indicates a political party still divided over issues of leadership, finances and unresolved lawsuits, the interest from the general public and the media has been essentially – none.

So why should this change?  There is always a chance for rebuilding, for reconciliation and to change the status quo.  While the BC Conservative Party is currently the unforgotten child in the BC political scene, the future is always brighter when there are prospects.

If the BC Conservative Party can put together a competent, savvy leadership team at the Board of Directors level and find itself a credible, media friendly energetic Leader heading into the 2017 election campaign, anything is possible.

Are voters tired of the rhetoric and the same old tired politics from the two front running parties?  Is the small ‘c’ conservative voter ready to turn aside from the questionable ethical practices of the Liberals and embrace an alternative that has its roots in BC since 1905?

Can the BC Conservative Party rise up from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix?  The results from February 20, 2016 in Richmond will tell the tale.

 

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