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Whether those trends continue may be partly determined by the health of the party’s finances.
The B.C. Liberals had about $2.3 million in cash deposits to fight this election, while carrying about $800,000 in debt, according to the party’s last financial disclosure. The party raised $2.9 million in political contributions last year and received almost $1.8 million in per-vote government subsidies.
“I think we all know there aren’t going to be big rallies, there aren’t going to be big meetings, it’s going to be a very different campaign,” said Wilkinson. “There’ll be a lot of social media, a lot of reliance on the mainstream media.”
The campaign will try to connect directly with voters by phone and through Zoom calls, he said.
“We’re in difficult times,” he said. “This has never been the scenario that any of us expected.”
Wilkinson repeatedly heaped scorn on Horgan for calling an election more than a year early, during a pandemic, but how the Liberals frame their pitch will be crucial if they are to succeed.
“By calling an election right now, I fear Horgan is risking the injection of partisanship into the pandemic response,” said UBC political scientist Max Cameron. “Can Wilkinson resist the temptation to do this?”
“How can he find the best strategy of opposition without weakening the robust consensus that I feel has emerged in recent months around the need to let (provincial health officer) Dr. Bonnie Henry and the experts take the lead on COVID-19?” he wondered.