Holiday season froze provincial politics for a week or so and rarely someone spokes directly about BC Liberal leadership or upcoming BC NDP leadership race. Liberal contestants are taking a rest in those days, charging batteries and reviewing their policies, before they enter last months of campaign which will be hectic and pressurised not only from members but also from media. Since they are off the hook and out of media eyesight outspoken Kootenay East MLA, Bill Bennett, catches media attention with new ideas and mulling’s about his future under the new BC Liberal leadership.

Mr. Bennett said to The Globe and Mail his constituency asks BC Liberals to change party name on upcoming convention in May do to popularity problems caused not only by HST but also by many other disputable issues connected to the party. He’s stand is that rural BC doesn’t support BC Liberal’s because they think the party is the same as federal Liberals.

Bennett: I’m not naive

“I’m not naive enough to think we can change the relationship of the party with the public simply by changing the name. The Liberals have done ‘lots of things’ that British Columbians do not like, starting with the harmonized sales tax”, Mr. Bennett said in an interview.

On the other side Mr. Bennett threats indirectly to the party regarding his political future as BC Liberal member. He still claims his devotion and membership to BC Liberals and announces intention to vote on party convention on February 12, and leadership vote on February 26, but he said that his future in the party will be known after he acknowledges a name of new leader. This basically means: I’m the member, but if you choose someone who’s not my favourite I’ll be gone. From someone who proudly says that he’s party member and remains as it in the party exercising voting rights on two conventions in less than two weeks, I would expect that he will support new leader whoever that person is for party sake and the future of the party and the province.

According to Mr. Bennett he was approached by his constituency with question would he run for BC Conservative leader in the future, but his response on that question will be directly provoked by the name of new leader of BC Liberals and party’s willingness to change a name in May of 2011. To me this point is not quite clear, but let’s put it like this. Let’s say, hypothetically that Party chooses to change a name in May, but doesn’t change policies and leadership direction, what’s the point of changing name?

New policies and party unity

For me it would be better if Mr. Bennett or his constituency comes out with proposal how to change major policies or how to improve public eyesight regarding those policies. I would like to hear from them what’s the major problem for Kootenay East and what are ideas how to change that and improve their living conditions and push that constituency towards better future. If the BC Liberal party name is the biggest problem for Kootenay East maybe then BC Liberals should think about it and make some decisions on May convention.

When we put aside policy debates and campaign coloured “personal” attacks one thing could be dissected as unique for all five leadership candidates. Liberal party unity and reconciliation is the first priority beside all other problems caused by HST and current Cabinet decisions. That was a reason why Kevin Falcon and other candidates asked Christy Clark to remain in active politics even if she doesn’t win on February leadership vote, and major number of them agrees that Conservative-Liberal coalition must remain strong for a provinces future and stronger growth. As Kevin Falcon said few days ago: “We are not one men play, we are the team”; that idea must be priority for all constituencies and MLA’s if they are really devoted to BC Liberal party.