B.C. Liberal Party set to become B.C. United after members vote to change party name
80% of members who voted supported the name change, which will now go to approval at convention
B.C. Liberal Party members have voted to change the name of the party to B.C. United.
Party Leader Kevin Falcon announced the results of a vote on the name change on Wednesday — in which 80 per cent of those who cast a ballot supported the move — following a process that began at the party's June convention.
"A commitment was made and commitment was kept," Falcon said as he announced the results, adding that he was "thrilled" with the vote.
Falcon said the name signifies a party "united by values, united by determination."
"I want this party to be a big tent party," he said.
WATCH | Kevin Falcon says he welcomes the potential name change:
The motion required more than 60 per cent of voters to agree to the name change in order to trigger the party's constitutional ratification process.
B.C. United was chosen as the alternative name after nearly 2,000 suggestions were reviewed, according to the party.
The party said prior to the vote that B.C. United reflects a fresh alternative that expresses a commitment to unity across a broad coalition of members while highlighting the province's name.
Voting began Nov. 13 and wrapped Wednesday.
Approximately 8,100, or 18 per cent, of the party's 45,000 members cast a ballot in the vote, which included both phone and online voting options.
Falcon called that level of voter turnout a success, suggesting that newer members who joined as part of this year's leadership race might not have the same level of interest in a new name as longtime members.
The change now needs to be approved by members at convention, which Falcon says will likely be early next year.
It's also up to them to decide when the change will be made, something Falcon says they want to be smart about.
He says if the NDP government and incoming premier, David Eby, call a snap election, he won't change the name immediately.
Because he doesn't control the electoral timeline, Falcon says they want to be careful about their timing.
Falcon had made renaming the party one of the planks of his policy platform during his leadership campaign.
The centre-right B.C. Liberals are not affiliated with the federal Liberal Party and have described themselves as a "made-in-B.C. free enterprise coalition.'' Some members believe the name has turned away conservative-leaning voters.
With files from Meera Bains and Akshay Kulkarni and Canadian Press