they are more likely to have been a provincial candidate and to have worked for a candidate, and to have worked for the party in the last provincial election.
And federal activism is inversely related to the level of optimism in provincial politics. As the degree of federal Liberal involvement increases the level of optimism about the provincial party's future decreases! But of the delegates to the provincial leadership selection convention, realists were significantly more likely to be federal constituency representatives, optimists were more likely to be provincial constituency representatives. We think that the federal constituency associations are less ephemeral than those organized for provincial ridings. All this can only reinforce our conclusion that the most significant provincial party activity is probably driven more by federal party activity than any genuine optimism about provincial politics.
This analysis of the Liberal party must be kept in perspective. The party remains a marginal player in the provincial party system and it consumes the energies of relatively few activists. But the fact that this many hardheaded partisans feel obliged, by virtue of their federal party loyalties, to sustain a provincial party testifies to the power of the Liberals to integrate the federal and provincial political worlds of many of their activists even if they can no longer do it for their electorate. It is also evidence of the power of Canadian Liberalism's commitment to the political centre and its abhorrence of a politics of polarization.
Here also may be a partial answer to our question as to why there are so few federal Liberals amongst Social Credit activists. It seems plausible that the character of their federal partisan commitments makes it particularly difficult for them to work in another party. Given that both the national Liberals and the provincial Socreds have been the governing party in their respective jurisdictions for most of the recent period, the conflicts between the two would have been especially difficult. This in turn would reinforce the Conservative cast to Social Credit making it less attractive to centrist Liberals. To explore these questions adequately we would need a good study of those federal Liberal activists who choose to play no part in provincial party life.
But this hardly resolves the puzzles of the Liberal party's survival in British Columbia's politics. Many of the arguments we have made would appear to hold, mutatis mutandis, for the provincial Conser-