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BC Liberals lack direction, says political commentator after former MLA shares anti-vaccination meme

Last Updated Dec 28, 2020 at 11:45 am PDT

Rich Coleman. Courtesy @richcolemanBC/Facebook)

A political commentator says a now-deleted tweet by Rich Coleman is a sign of the disorganization within the BC Liberals

Despite Coleman not sitting in legislature, it's a sign the party isn't connecting with voters, Hamish Telford says

Coleman is facing criticism for tweeting what he says was a joke about COVID-19 death rates and vaccines

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A now-deleted tweet by former deputy premier Rich Coleman is a sign of the disorganization within the BC Liberals, says a political commentator.

While Coleman is facing criticism after tweeting about COVID-19 deaths and vaccines in what he said was a joke, University of the Fraser Valley political scientist Hamish Telford says the party lacks direction.

“It doesn’t know what it stands for at the moment,” he says. “I think the year is ending for [the BC Liberals] much as the election campaign went: kind of directionless.”

RELATED: Former BC Liberal Party member criticized for posting anti-vaccination meme

Despite Rich Coleman not sitting in the legislature any longer, the incident shows that the Liberals are having trouble connecting with voters, Telford says.

“I just couldn’t imagine why he thought this was humorous in any way, shape, or form,” he says. “And for such an experienced politician, it seemed surprising that he put it out at all.”

Coleman tweeted a picture that read, “How will we know if the vaccines are working? Will the survival rate go from 99.5% to 99.7%?”

He quickly deleted the tweet and apologized, but the tweet is being called insensitive to those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19.

“So I tweeted something earlier and on reflection thought it wasn’t that funny. My bad. Sorry folks,” Coleman’s follow-up tweet reads.

He added the tweet sends the wrong message and he fully supports vaccines and has been against anti-vaxxers for years.

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Others say the social media post was misleading and suggest the one-time Langley MLA is on the side of anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers.

Telford says Shirley Bond will have to give the party focus and direction as the party’s interim leader to avoid more of “these kinds of eruptions.”

“I think the challenge for Shirley Bond is, that she might have liked to have a more fulsome apology from Mr. Coleman. But if she demands that, and then puts them back on the stage to give it, it gives the story legs for another news cycle,” he adds.

Coleman served under premiers Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark as a high-level MLA and was in both their cabinets. He was even the front-runner to succeed Gordon Cambell but he didn’t throw his hat in the ring in 2010 for family reasons.

-with files from Kareem Gouda