British Columbia

B.C. Liberals launch election ads 9 months before May vote

B.C. Liberals release their first campaign ad, a sign of the constant campaigns so prevalent in the U.S. — and of a party with much larger coffers than its opponent.

B.C. Liberals have launched first commercial for upcoming provincial election

In the ad, released on TV and online, Christy Clark sits at a table drinking coffee with British Columbians and talking about jobs, taxes and government spending. (B.C. Liberals)

A little less than 9 months before the next B.C. provincial election, the B.C. Liberals have released their first campaign ad, featuring leader Christy Clark sitting around a kitchen table drinking coffee with a group of British Columbians.

What's remarkable to political communication experts is not the party's messaging on the economy, but that voters are seeing ads so far out from the May 9, 2017 voting day.

It shows that more aspects of the constant campaign cycle often attributed to U.S. politics have crept north of the border, said Royal Road University associate professor David Black. 

"As a first sign of the B.C. Liberal communication strategy ... it is an unsurprising and likely very effective start," said Black.

Black added that the B.C. Liberals are trying to own the economy and job creation as their success stories. In the ad, Premier Christy Clark said "if you look around the rest of the country, around the United States, a lot of places are struggling ... with unemployment, with joblessness."

"We have to redouble our efforts, keep the eye on the ball and focus on controlling government spending," she told a pair of nodding women at the table. 

But it's spending of a different kind that has Black interested in the B.C. Liberal strategy.

In 2015, according to numbers from Elections BC, the B.C. Liberals raised $9.38 million while the BC NDP raised $2 million. 

"The significant financial advantage the B.C. Liberals have over the NDP [means] that they can afford to begin the campaign eight months or so before the writ drops in 2017," said Black. 

The BC NDP have not yet run ads targeted for the 2017 election but did run an attack ad before the byelection in February focused on Christy Clark photo-ops, under-funded hospitals and a lack of schools.

Black thinks once NDP spots air for the general election, they will focus on scandals including private fundraising dinners with Clark and the triple-delete email scandal. 

"I think the NDP will pivot to ethics, I think that is where they have opportunity to address a weakness in what the Liberals have to offer."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect date for the next B.C. general election. It is scheduled for May 9, 2017.
    Aug 24, 2016 12:26 PM PT

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