Opinion Column

Christy Clark single-handedly destroys B.C. Liberal Party brand in just one day

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (Gerry Kahrmann/Postmedia File Photo)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (Gerry Kahrmann/Postmedia File Photo)

"Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business." — Publisher Steve Forbes

Outgoing Premier Christy Clark has single-handedly destroyed the B.C. Liberal Party brand that took 16 years in office to build, in just one day.

All across the province, you can hear the heads of small-"c" conservative supporters (a big part of the B.C. Liberal Party coalition) exploding, as they read Clark's throne speech Thursday.

That's because it isn’t a B.C. Liberal document. It was stolen wholesale from the B.C. New Democrats and B.C. Green Party election platforms.

There are at least 30 items promised in Clark’s throne speech that were never mentioned in the B.C. Liberal election platform — but the could be found in the other two parties’ documents.

And other items, such as the SkyTrain to Squamish feasibility study and $1-billion child-care expansion, are way too far out there for even the NDP or Greens to have considered. But not Christy Clark.

You could likely find the B.C. Liberal platform at a pawn shop, with a corresponding value.

So it's no wonder conservatives, such as former B.C. Liberal finance minister Kevin Falcon, were too shocked to even respond to the throne speech.

“I’m still trying to deal with the magnitude of the shifts,” Falcon said Friday.

Retired energy minister Bill Bennett admitted: “I think there’s likely to be some real angst today on the part of business and fiscal conservatives.”

Corporate branding strategies bear out those worries about the party’s amazing fire sale on its principles.

Starbucks coffee CEO Howard Schultz argues that being genuine is key to success.

“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last,” Schultz wrote in one of his books about the company.

I don’t think he meant authentically unbelievable.

Ironically, however, some New Democrats and media are wondering if the B.C. Liberal throne speech is the most brilliant strategy ever concocted.

I totally disagree, unless you think a completely bat guano crazy plan is a good idea.

No, this is simply Clark’s last desperate stand, shamelessly renouncing the fiscal conservative beliefs that kept her party in office.

Instead, Clark will self-centredly demolish the legacy of ex-premier Gordon Campbell and the entire B.C. Liberal government of the past 16 years, leaving the party looking desperate, unprincipled and adrift.

Bon voyage!

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at billtieleman.blogspot.com. Twitter: @BillTieleman