B.C. Conservative rivals square off at AGM
The B.C. Conservative Party annual general meeting this weekend is heading toward a showdown over leadership.
The party, which laboured in the political wilderness for years, gained traction after former Delta MP John Cummins became leader in May 2011, rising as high as 20 per cent in recent opinion polls.
Now, some party members want to challenge Cummins’ leadership. They are running as a slate for party executive positions, headed by Ben Besler of Chilliwack, who ran for the party in the 2009 provincial election, when it was led by Wilf Hanni.
A pro-Cummins slate headed by director-at-large Al Siebring, a North Cowichan councillor, was announced in response. Siebring calls his slate the A Team and it includes supporters who billed themselves as Friends of John Cummins in a series of news releases responding to calls for a leadership review.
Siebring said Cummins’ leadership is being questioned by “a few noisy individuals” who have damaged the party’s credibility at a critical time in preparation for the election next May.
Siebring said only four of 26 board members are backing a leadership review and he expects it to be voted down easily at Saturday’s (Sept. 22) meeting in Langley.
Cummins said he isn’t too concerned about detractors within the party, calling it “the normal course of events” in any organization.
“The job after the weekend is to make sure that everybody’s onside and move forward,” Cummins said.
Party members are voting on whether his leadership should be reviewed, with ballots mailed to all B.C. Conservative members.
Party treasurer Lambert Leung of Richmond, who is standing for re-election with the A Team slate, said some members mailed in their ballots and others are bringing them to Saturday’s meeting, where the results will be tabulated and announced.
Cummins is scheduled to address the membership at 12:30 p.m. and results of the vote for executive positions will be announced Saturday afternoon.
With Belsey running for party president, the dissident slate includes John Crocock, a former regional director for the Burnaby-Coquitlam region, Betty Newton of New Westminster, currently the deputy financial agent, Burnaby North constituency president Ariane Eckardt, Surrey regional director James Ram, Vancouver-Kingsway constituency president Milan Kljajic and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows constituency president Robbie Armstrong.
The pro-Cummins slate is Siebring for president, Jim Sutherland of Kelowna for vice-president, Leung for treasurer, Linda Bellamy of Langley for secretary, and director-at-large candidates Dan Denis of Vancouver, Daniel Brooks of Vanderhoof, Doug Machan of Kelowna and Dennis Belliveau of Parksville-Qualicum.
Kamloops Conservatives heading to Langley
More than two-dozen Kamloops-North and South Thompson constituency members will be attending this weekend’s annual general meeting of the B.C. Conservative Party in Langley.
Included from Kamloops-South Thompson will be constituency president Fernando di Lorenzo, vice-president Peter Sharp, treasurer Jacquie Hilton and secretary/regional director Alan Forseth.
Those attending from Kamloops-North Thompson include riding president Ed Fehr, treasurer Naomi Fehr, financial agent Carl Hagen and board member Max Lentz.
The AGM will be held on Friday, Sept. 21, and Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Langley Events Centre, 7888 200 St.