Kevin Falcon insists BC United name change ‘gamble’ will pay off

Leader says a year is a lifetime in politics

If politics were a game of blackjack, Kevin Falcon is still waiting to see what card turns up having told the dealer to hit him, although this game still has up to 12 months to play out.

Eight months after admitting it was indeed a political gamble to change the name of the official opposition party from B.C. Liberals to B.C. United, Falcon said he has no doubt the public will warm up to their policies and candidates in the year remaining before the expected October 2024 provincial election.

Falcon was visiting Kelowna Wednesday for the first time since recent polling showed his party is running just behind the B.C. Conservatives (who occupy a place further to their political right) and are a long way back of the governing New Democrats.

However, he's confident public opinion will change significantly and voter confusion will dwindle regarding which party is which.

'Nobody knows who the B.C. Conservatives are'

“None of us should be surprised that eight months after changing our name, a lot of British Columbians are still unaware of who B.C. United is, they don’t realise we’re the former B.C. Liberal party,” Falcon told Kelowna10. “But I do promise you this, by the time the next election rolls up people will figure that out.”

Falcon said no one is paying attention to provincial politics right now and suggested polling questions to the public at this stage about which party they support are being asked at a time of voter confusion.

“A lot of the voters are confused between the federal Conservatives and the BC Conservatives. Nobody knows who the B.C. Conservatives are,” he said. “They [the public] are actually talking about Pierre Poilievre and naturally say they support conservatives.”

Explaining a year is a lifetime in politics, Falcon pointed to Ken Sim and ABC Vancouver, the political party that came out of relative obscurity to sweep the municipal elections there.

“By the time the election rolls around, and [voters] see the great candidates we’re going to be introducing, and by the time they see our policies, I’ve very, very confident the support will be there.”

He admitted he’d rather not have the B.C. Conservatives splitting the right of centre votes in any race against the NDP, but added the Conservatives have always been around and have been a much bigger threat in the past.

Falcon highlighted affordability-focused policies announced Oct. 31 as a way he hopes to gain traction among the voting public.

Those include the permanent elimination of the provincial fuel tax, saving drivers up to 15 cents per litre on gasoline and diesel; ending the planned NDP carbon tax increases; the removal of taxes from home heating fuels; and the removal of carbon tax from on-farm fuel use.

Further policy announcements are expected in the coming months.

But getting back to what’s in a name, Falcon is adamant it’ll work.

“I think the name change itself is good. I really think he idea of uniting people, ‘B.C. United’, is a really important message at a time when we’ve got a lot of divisiveness in politics in North America and around the world,” he said.

Published 2023-11-15 by Glenn Hicks

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