EDITORIAL: Liberals facing downward spiral

Retiring MLAs another indication of challenges within the government

The last one out of the Liberal caucus room better turn off the lights.

Veteran Shuswap MLA George Abbott announced Thursday he won’t run again in May 2013. He brings the current number of Liberals bowing out to nine, including the high-profile Kevin Falcon and Bill Barisoff.

All of them reference personal commitments for moving on, and that’s likely the case for individuals like Abbott who has been in office since 1996. He deserves credit for his dedication to the public service and his constituents.

However, there’s no ignoring the fact that the Liberals are in trouble.

The free-fall started under Gordon Campbell and if anything, the pace has picked up under Christy Clark.

Despite her attempt to differentiate herself from her predecessor and promises of more open communication with British Columbians, Clark can’t get a break. Absolutely nothing has helped.

The NDP continues to sit at the top of the polls and the B.C. Conservatives are nipping at the Liberals’ traditional free-enterprise base.

As a result, there can’t be any doubt that the party’s fortunes have played a role in the rapid-fire retirements underway. Preferably, you leave office on your own terms rather than going down to defeat.

It’s almost like history is repeating itself as there are parallels between what is happening to the Liberals and what occurred with the Socreds in their last days in power.

Caucus members will continue to jump before spring’s election and Clark may become known as the latest version of Rita Johnston.