There is a total vacuum at the top of the BC Conservative Party.
The Leader, Dan Brooks, is AWOL. No media presence. No visits to Party members. No profile.
Only two news releases in the past six months.
Almost every director elected to the Party board last November, including the president, resigned only weeks into their mandate.
There is no fundraising, no money, no momentum. What’s up?
Here’s maybe a clue as to why Brooks has walked away from the Party.
One year from now, in November of 2016, he’s scheduled to be in BC Supreme Court along with his former leadership campaign manager, Barry Sikora. Sikora is listed on the Party website as a regional director from Surrey.
In the 2014 BC Conservative leadership campaign, two anonymous smear letters against Brook’s leadership rival, Rick Peterson, were sent out to all 4,000 members of the BC Conservative Party across the province.
Following a Vancouver Police Department investigation and an internal Party report, Peterson filed a defamation claim against Brooks, Sikora and Sikora’s printing company, Classic Impressions Inc., alleging that the three parties were responsible for the production and dissemination of the anonymous letters, which attacked Peterson’s personal, political and professional reputation.
A November 2016 court date before a judge and 12-member jury is locked into place. Sources tell me that Kristy Fredericks, elected Party president in November of last year, abruptly resigned her post weeks after assuming her duties, along with every member of the board that she brought with her on the “Dan Brooks youth slate” at the November AGM, when she learned about the extent of the allegations.
Nothing has been proven yet, and it is only in court that the full details will be released.
It could get ugly. How ugly? Check out the current political defamation case playing out right now in BC Supreme Court, involving former Liberal MP Blair Wilson, who claims that anonymous claims against him amounted to “character assassination” . Here’s the link:
And here’s a quote from that story – bold italics are mine:
“The named defendants in the case include Bill Lougheed, former MLA Judi Tyabji, political strategist Mark Marissen, who is the former husband of Premier Christy Clark and political blogger Steve Janke, who published an anonymous letter detailing allegations against Wilson and forwarded to Elections Canada. Tyabji, who had conversations with Lougheed and O’Connor and was allegedly motivated by an ambition to remove Wilson from his MP’s job, was in court Wednesday representing herself.”
Sound familiar? I’m no legal expert, but part of this Blair Wilson case seems very similar to charges currently levied against Brooks and Sikora.
It’s clear to me that the fortunes of the BC Conservative Party under Dan Brooks’ leadership are on hold until this gets cleared up. If Brooks or his campaign manager were found to have a role in the anonymous smear letters against Peterson, it’s lights out for the Party in 2017.
And maybe this is why the Party Leader has decided to hide under a rock, hoping this all blows over.
I have been listening to discussions a lot lately about what issue or issues the BC 2013 election will be fought over.
One pundit says the economy ( I guess that’s fashionable since James Carville coined the phrase ‘it’s the Economy Stupid!”),another says the election will be fought over BC Rail,another says it will be all about getting rid of the BC Liberals.
Some people even say that this election will revolve around the environment or post secondary education.
What about fracking?
One thing they all seem to agree on is that the government should be framing the ballot box issue.
In truth and in fact they are all wrong.
These are not issues they are files within a mandate.
Elections are about Leadership!
You don’t vote on the economy you vote on who best to lead you through a rough patch or who to lead and manage a good economy.
BC Rail? You are not voting on that, you are voting on who best to lead the legislature to make sure that never happens again?
The environment? Post secondary education? Those are not issues; the issue is who best to lead the province in the right direction and manage those two files.
The pipeline? Just another file. You vote on who best to handle the file.
The Government frames the issue right?
They should be. Gordon Campbell ( no matter what you think of him) was very good at framing the leadership issue. He won three elections. He also left when he realised he could no longer frame this as his issue.
Today the government is no longer setting the pace on the main issue for the upcoming general election.
If you believe the polls the BCNDP are framing the issue of leadership for the government.
Adrian Dix is waging a very calculated and to this point successful campaign showing himself to be the best leader.
He is including everybody in the discussion and is not afraid to release bits of his platform.
A case in point: His recent speech at the Vancouver Board of Trade. he told a largely pro business audience that if successful in the election he would raise corporate taxes back to levels of 2008.
He is showing extreme confidence and speaks with out emotion.
He lays claim to wanting to do politics differently and backs it up with statements like” If the Federal government changes their mind and does not close the Vancouver Coast Guard I will be the first one to issue a press release applauding the government and that decision.
Contrast that with the premier who, when asked on a radio show ( Bill Good to give credit where it’s due),to comment on the polls showing the women’s vote is going to the NDP said after a few callers phoned in, it’s early,people are not paying attention and I plan to run on my record.
What the premier should have said was’ those polls are on me, I am the leader and I have seven months to work hard and prove that I am the right person for the job.
So as of right now the she is right, she will be running on her record.It is a record of not taking simple leadership of a simple question.
Likewise the optics from the recent BC Conservative AGM and dissident fiasco were not good for the party and when contrasted against the backdrop of Adrian Dix’s handling of George’s Heyman’s position on fracking ( George is entitled to his opinion we welcome discussion here) once again gave the voting public something to compare them to.
There are seven months to go until the election.
To be successful the BCNDP needs to continue what they are doing, the other parties have to catch up.
Today was a good day for the BC Conservative Party up-to and including the incident where John Van Dongen left the party.
The party elected Voice of Reason Al Seibring as president, Christine Clark as Vice President,Linda Bellamy as Secretary and re-elected Treasurer Lambert Leung .
Also elected were a whole host of new directors including Dan Denis,Dennis Beliveau,Daniel Brooks and Douglas Machan.
All the instigators of the last week were not elected and lots of new blood was elected to the board.
John Van Dongen left the party ( I told you that might happen in my post yesterday) and so the party has a chance to get some work done and elect some MLAs next May.
Van Dongen worked hard on the BC Rail file but he also worked hard at disrupting board meetings with his monthly ” I am getting elected with or without your help threats”.
During his goodbye speech John Van Dongen mentioned that the BC Conservatives did not work as a team. This is a concept that Van Dongen himself doesn’t understand as his demands on the board above illustrate.
Could we have done more to pacify him? Probably but he could have done more during the by-elections to help us too.
Sure losing an MLA is a blow but in this case the party is better for it!
1115 BC Conservatives cast ballots. This is a huge number of people who got involved.
788 BC Conservatives ( 71%) said John Cummins should not be subject to a leadership review!
Conservatives in the hall united in applause,as the party pledges to move forward and capture seats in the upcoming May election.
On the heels of this historic win Cummins and team proposed via a news release major changes to the rules governing sittings in the Victoria legislature.
Most notably the fall sitting, under a BC Conservative Government,will be used as a means to scrutinize expenditures relating to taxpayers dollars.
Deputy Ministers, Crown Corporation executives and the like will be called to face committees not only to account for expenditures for the previous years but also to answer for projections for the upcoming year.
A novel concept, the house being used for serious government business.
The May 2013 election just got interesting. The electorate now has a chance to vote for real change !
Tomorrow is the day Conservatives in BC have been waiting for for a long time.
It is the occasion of the final BC Conservative AGM before the May 2013 election,maybe.
For that to happen John Cummins has to win the leadership handily and the BC Liberals have to keep their word and actually have the election in May and not pull some legislative shenanigans in early 2013 and change the date to the fall.
What will happen at the AGM tomorrow? Will there be winners and losers?
I believe that question is a lot more complicated than you think.
John Cummins can win and hold onto his leadership tomorrow but still lose the war.
This would happen if John Van Dongen uses the occasion of the Cummins victory speech to declare that he is running as an independent. Stranger things have happened in politics. ( This is not easy for Van Dongen either)
John Cummins could lose his leadership tomorrow ( I don’t think so) and open the whole party up to more infighting and a nasty leadership vote.
This leadership vote ,should it occur has the potential to be even nastier the the goings on lately because there could be more than 1 other party involved.
If you are reading this and you say that’s right,they could enter negotiations with the BC Liberals to unify the so-called free enterprise vote you are only partially correct.
Partially because if you have been watching the news lately you would have seen the dormant BC First party slowly arising from hibernation in the form of an endorsement from Bill Vander Zalm.
I am not one to believe in coincidences and have read the accounts in the MSM about Vander Zalm friends Ben Besler and John Crocock building a slate to take on the rest of the folks running for the provincial board under the guise of wanted to do politics different.
I have seen and heard motions from one or the other and seconded by one or the other that reek of more old style politics than most other amateur politicians I can think of.
To wit: Besler introduces a motion to give away memberships for free and is seconded by Crocock. This of course is shot down in flames as scandalous by the sane people on the board.
This is old school politics and so is telling potential nomination candidates that certain ridings are unavailable to run in because they are reserved for board members. ( I will let you use your imagination to figure out which one of these guys did that)
Not only is that old school politics but it also is a form of empire building at a time when most political parties, Conservatives included are tying to clean that up.
The instigator slate has not yet registered for the AGM and no that does not mean they have had a change of heart. It just means more of the old school type of politics.
So when they say they stand for something different don’t believe it for a minute.
In the last week and by the latest poll, the BC Conservative Party has gone down about 7% in the polls and a good part of this has been brought on by the instigator slate.
Chris Delaney,Bill Vander Zalm,Sal Vetro and the BC First team must be having a good laugh.
So are the inept Christy Clark led BC Liberals who today siphoned off former by-election candidate and third place finisher John Martin.
At a time when Conservatives should be attacking the opposition, Besler, Crocock and Co. have been busy attacking themselves and shooting their own party in the foot.
What this does is leave the door wide open for the BC Liberals and now the BC First Crew to tussle over the vote.
What do you think. What will happen tomorrow and do you care?
Repeatedly BC Conservative Party Leader John Cummins has stated that the party has no intention to marge with the failing BC Liberal Government.
For one thing a lot of people in the BC Conservative Party are not just disaffected Federal Conservatives looking for a home but the party is also made up of people who have had enough with the current political system.
The BC Liberals ( We are not Liberals folks) would like to think that the Conservatives are the sole reason for their defeat in the by-elections and are the main reason the corrupt governing party will lose the next election.
If the truth be known,if the BC Conservatives did not exist and there was no other alternative, the BC Liberals would still get wiped out in the May 2013 election.
The only vote splitting that will happen will be by the downward trending BC Liberals and that issue was addressed recently by Rick Peterson in an excellent op=ed piece in the Vancouver Sun and redistributed on this blog.
Today the inept BC Liberals and their supporters attempted to once again ” Reach Out” board members and supporters via a letter from the desk of Peter Brown :
This letter insults all Conservative people under the BC Conservative Umbrella. It as if it is our fault that the supposed coalition has split apart.
Mr. Brown, Inept Premier Clark and the BC Liberal Crew need to take a good solid look in the mirror.
What the will see is their former leader hammered on a Hawaiian vacation, their new inept leader tee heeing her way through photo ops the whole time up to her arm pits in BC Rail,sleazily introducing and dragging out the HST and other assorted and sundry bull shit too numerous to name in this blog piece.
The BC Liberals had 11 years in government and they blew it. They will go out in infamy,their legacy will be corruption and sleaze.
They had a wonderful opportunity when first elected in 2001 and they have flushed it down the toilet.
The BC Conservatives on the other hand stand for honesty, integrity and accountability.They stand for reduced taxes and increased employment.
Why on earth would any BC Conservative in his or her right mind want to join a party like the BC Liberals?
Smyth’s article presupposes that people ( like MLA van Dongen and volunteer campaign workers like me) are malcontents because we left the party.
Nothing could be further than the truth.
I left because I had enough. I heard a Campbell speech in 1999 that started with I want to be Premier because I want BC to be a place my kids can grow up in,work here and live here.
In 2009 Campbell made a speech at his nomination that said I want to be Premier to build a province that my Grandchildren can live here and work here.
Same Speech 10 years later meant to me they had done nothing in the first 10 years of their mandate.
What life the BC Liberal party had for me died that night.
That combined with HST,Basi Virk etc. was and is a party that I no longer wanted to be associated with.
For John,the BC liberal Brand died later,but died it did.
When he left( that took courage), as you have heard van Dongen says countless times, it was because he wanted open honest accountable government. He has added that he wants to work in a government that both he and the electorate can trust.
This is not happening now and will not happen under the BC Liberals, Clark and the smoke and mirrors of a name change now.
People like John and I want to build a better BC that all of us can be proud of and that includes the people we elect to government.
We can’t do it under the Liberals and we cant do it with the same people under a different name.
People do not trust her government and they won’t no matter what she does between now and next May.
Scaling back her holidays to 4 weeks as Bob Plecas suggests probably throws most British Columbians for a loop as well. Lets face it,when most people start a new job they only get 2 weeks after year one.
Add to that, the more times she is snapped smiling at summer barbeques the more her poll results will drop. With the house out, people will just assume she is on one long summer vacation.
I believe that most people live by the old adage that he or she who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones.
For the Clark government to throw stones at Dix will endanger what little bit of a glass house the Liberal team has left.
Clark has not shown leadership since she was chosen to be Premier by the Liberal Party. An example of which is her stance on the pipeline.
Whatever she decides to do with this now will look like an act of a desperate politician . ( She is)
Finally, the handy hints and most discussion regarding re-branding and the fate of the Liberal party in BC leaves out is this: Dix’s poll results could be rising because the left leaning liberals have left the Clark tent.
Every time she pretends to be a Conservative more lefties leave the Liberal party, driving her poll numbers down even further.
What’s ahead? Certain electoral defeat for Clark and her team.