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Business leader Phil Hochstein hopes to unite a right-of-centre option for B.C. voters for next May's election. (CBC)

B.C. Liberal backers have come out of their annual fundraiser this week determined to lure B.C. Conservatives into some kind of co-operative arrangement, but leader John Cummins is once again laughing it off.

About 1,700 people ponied up $350 each to hear Christy Clark Tuesday night as the B.C. premier made another pitch for a free enterprise coalition.

 But behind the scenes there's anxiety among business leaders.

"I think the urgency is we get less and less time to make it happen," said Phil Hochstein of the Independent Contractors and Business Association.

Hochstein has been at the forefront of an effort to bring right of centre voters together for the election next May.

He said he hopes to meet with Cummins next week.

"If it's best for the province that somehow the forces all come together, then I think he should look at that," Hochstien said. "If he doesn't look at that, then I think it's more about him than the province."

Cummins dismissive

But Cummins won't be moved.

"The Liberals are a discredited lot. There's nothing to be gained by B.C. Conservatives reaching out," he told CBC News.

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B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins resists any suggestion of banding with the Liberals. (CBC)

The B.C. Liberal Party has openly discussed the possibility of changing the party name to reflect its fiscally conservative policies.

The name change could even be made prior to the election.

Cummins was dismissive of that notion, too.

"You can call a skunk a rabbit but it's still a skunk," he said.

 

With files from the CBC's Jeff Davies