Premier Christy Clark is "restructuring" her cabinet, but a more pressing challenge for her is finding enough credible candidates to carry her party's tarnished banner in the next election.
And she's not the only leader facing this daunting task. B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins must also find 83 people to run for his party (I'm presuming both him and MLA John van Dongen will be running next May).
Both parties must run careful background checks on prospective candidates to weed out potential embarrassments. If either party finds itself unable to woo enough people to run, I wonder whether those background checks will weaken and thus allow suspect candidates to garner a nomination.
It would seem Cummins and his party is particularly vulnerable to this scenario. The B.C. Liberals, for all their problems, still have a solid party infrastructure in place and the party is run by experienced hands who have been involved in three election victories.
The B.C. Conservatives, on the other hand, have yet to demonstrate they possess a disciplined, seasoned process to oversee its election campaign. Cummins once expressed concern to me on a Shaw TV Voice of B.C. program that he was worried his party would attract the wrong kind of candidate, who could prove embarrassing.
As I wrote here previously, the B.C. Conservatives have to inoculate themselves from "bozo eruptions" from candidates in the middle of a campaign.
They can derail any campaign momentum rather quickly.
Indeed, Cummins himself has just provided the exact kind of comment I'm talking about. In an interview with The Vancouver Sun's Jonathan Fowlie last week, Cummins compared himself to Jesus Christ no less.
In talking about facing a potential challenge to his leadership, Cummins said he could find only one party board member who wanted him gone. Then, he added this gem of a quote: "I hate to use a biblical reference but Christ had 12 apostles, and one turned him in. We share the same initials, but I can't rise from the dead and I can't get unanimity on the board. I wouldn't expect to be able to. He couldn't. I can't."
You can be sure this quote will be resurrected (sorry for the pun) by the B.C. Liberals as we draw closer to the next election. The last political leader who compared himself to Christ was none other than Bill Vander Zalm at the height of his leadership problems, and things didn't turn out so well for him.
Clark's potential problem when it comes to candidate recruitment is a little different.
While Cummins is asking people to come on board a new venture, where the expectations might not be so high, Clark is trying to convince people to jump aboard a ship that is listing badly.
While her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, could woo "star" candidates with the offer of a cabinet post, Clark is not in a position to do that.
The best she can offer is the chance to be a portfolio critic sitting in the official Opposition. That's not the most appealing offer to people with good jobs in the private sector.
The one leader sitting in the catbird seat is, of course, the NDP's Adrian Dix. He's only losing a handful of MLAs from his existing caucus (Clark, on the other hand, will lose about 20 sitting MLAs), and his party is well along in the nomination process.
The NDP has already landed a star candidate in labor leader Judy Darcy, who is running in New Westminster, and has more than a dozen new candidates (and don't forget Vancouver-Fairview, where George Heyman and Geoff Meggs are vying for the nomination).
The NDP finds itself in a situation similar to the one it faced in 1991, when it was also heavily favored to form government. Back then, it got people like Mike Farnworth, Joy MacPhail, Penny Priddy, Andrew Petter, Ujjal Dosanjh and Sue Hammell to run as first-timers, and all became strong cabinet ministers.
It's yet another parallel to the pivotal 1991 election, which saw a longtime political dynasty almost disappear from sight. The current premier has a lot of work ahead of her to prevent the same thing happening again next May.
Keith Baldrey is chief political reporter for Global B.C.