EDITORIAL: BC Conservatives give mixed message
With the news that the leader of the BC Conservative Party, John Cummins, has given a free pass to incumbent indepedent Delta-South MLA Vicki Huntington in the next election, it's hard to figure out what's going on.
Cummins, a former federal MP for Richmond-Delta has said he has a great deal of respect for Huntington and won't run a candidate against her.
But what does he really want from this?
It's all well and good that Cummins respects Huntington—indeed, one would assume all elected members of the legislature deserve some modicum of respect—but how that does help the BC Conservative Party?
And how does it help those voters in Delta-South who want to cast their vote for Cummins' lot?
Either Cummins is acting magnanimously, or else there's a deeper plan at work here, one that involves cajoling Huntington into crossing the floor at some point and taking up the cause without having to go through the pesky annoyance of asking voters.
It's not as though such a thing is unprecented. Abbotsford MLA John van Dongen made that historic shift of allegiances back in March, leaving the BC Liberal caucus to join the provincial Conservatives.
At the time it was a great coup for a party that has struggled for relevance in the past several decades.
Alas, it appears the honeymoon on that front is well and truly over. Rumours are flying that the party is in turmoil and that a faction is set to oust Cummins tommorrow (Sept. 22) at the party's annual general meeting in Langley.
Whatever forces are behind the power struggle, you've got to think that changing party leaders eight months before an election does not bode well.
On the one hand, the BC Conservatives look poised to reap their greatest electoral rewards in party history (if you believe the polls), while on the other you have internal conflict and a broken promise they would run a candidate in every riding in B.C.
Assuming Cummins is still leader of the party on Sunday, it might be time to start doing damage control to their tattered image.
And if he isn't?
Well, Huntington will still have his respect.