John Cummins still has to watch his back. Although the B.C. Conservative chief defeated a challenge to his leadership at the party’s annual general meeting on September 22, dissidents continue to agitate for a new leader.
One of these is Al Marcoux. He’s the vice president of the party’s Vancouver-Kingsway constituency association. On September 25, the association’s board announced that it will deregister the group from Elections B.C. Its president, Milan Kljajic, was a member of the seven-person slate that lost to a pro-Cummins team in the election of the party’s executive at the general meeting.
“It depends who it is, yes,” Marcoux told the Straight by phone when asked if members of his group want to see Cummins replaced. “I mean, someone who will listen to the membership. I’m always open. Nothing is written in stone.”
Marcoux suggested that Cummins isn’t assured of solid support within the party. He noted that out of the estimated 3,000 members, only a third cast ballots for or against a leadership review. Of these, Cummins got 71 percent support. Referring to the majority who did not participate, Marcoux said: “What their desire is, it wasn’t expressed.”
He also dismissed new party president Al Siebring’s argument that there isn’t time for a leadership convention, given that the May 2013 provincial election is just months away. “It depends on what kind of leader they bring,” Marcoux said.
B.C. Conservative Party headquarters didn’t make a spokesperson available for comment.
Rick Peterson, an investment advisor who recently withdrew as a B.C. Conservative nomination candidate in Vancouver-Quilchena, acknowledged the challenges facing the party.
“We need to grow the party,” Peterson told the Straight by phone. “We need to raise money and attract candidates. And we have to do a really good job of explaining why we should be the government.”
Peterson pulled out of the nomination for personal reasons. He remains with the party’s executive in Vancouver-Quilchena.