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BC Politics

Please Advise! Did the BC Libs Rip off Jason Kenney’s Brand?

BC United sounds a lot like Alberta’s United Conservative Party, no?

Steve Burgess 16 Nov

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Read his previous articles.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

Members of the BC Liberal Party have voted over 80 per cent to change their name to BC United. Good move, do you think?



Dear Anon,

Shakespeare's maxim that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet has always had issues. What if you called it a turd? Associations matter, Bill. And that has been the problem for BC Liberals ever since the Gordon Campbell era. The name had associations that just didn't fit.

This is not the first time Dr. Steve has written about the BC Liberal Party's name change. In fact this topic might be to Dr. Steve as water lilies were to Monet. Or if you prefer a cinematic parallel, think Porky's Revenge. But the repetition is relevant, since past columns on this topic have drawn many reader comments. One frequent Tyee reader comment has been: Why don't they just call themselves Conservatives?

The answer is that there already is a Conservative Party of BC. The name is taken. But that's where things get interesting, because in the fall of 2022 the rules have changed. There are no more restrictions in naming, and for that we can thank Elon Musk. For eight bucks, Batman can be Superman. Salieri can be Mozart. The BC Liberals could be the BC Conservatives. They could be Eli Lilly, or they could join the growing crowd of Elon Musks. For that matter, thanks to Herschel Walker anyone can be a cop for the price of a toy badge. So much freedom these days!

The party however voted for BC United, in such huge numbers that even Kari Lake couldn't cry fraud. (Let's just pause a moment here to add our own small contributions to poor Kari's Lake of Tears.) But Dr. Steve can still hope for a change of heart over the change of name. And Dr. Steve has a new suggestion: the Falcons.

There's no denying that Falcon is a pretty cool name, like those TV shows named after a cool detective. (Have you ever met anyone actually named Magnum?) It's a name that would fit neatly into West Side Story. Here they come [snapping fingers] walking through the ledge... make way for the Falcons! And across the aisle, glaring back, the rival gang — the E.B.s.

Those names that would look great on drum kits at the back of three-piece combos — the Falcons and the E.B.s in a battle of the bands. “Taxman” vs. “Don't Be Cruel.”

There is historical precedent for this naming approach. Think Julius Caesar. After him, all the leaders were named Caesar. It wasn't Rome United, it was hail Caesar! From now on every B.C. political leader could be a Falcon or an E.B. — maybe Falcon Augustus or Marcus Aurelius E.B.

But the party has gone with a different strategy. They are hoping to start with a clean slate, smelling like a new rose. Of course, for some people BC United might summon up Alberta's United Conservative Party, which is a foul-smelling smudge on the clean slate right off the bat. Grabbing a handful of that magic Jason Kenney pixie dust is perhaps not ideal.

Dr. Steve by the way will henceforth be known as George Clooney. Not a doctor, but he played one on TV. Perfect! My eight bucks are in the mail.  [Tyee]

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