B.C. Conservative party revolt surprises John Cummins supporters
Supporters of B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins were caught off-guard by the mutiny that has engulfed the party in recent days.
“Absolutely, we were blindsided,” Al Siebring admitted in a phone interview with the Straight.
A councillor in North Cowichan, Siebring heads a slate of pro-Cummins candidates vying for various party positions in what is expected to be a tumultuous annual general meeting of B.C. Conservatives this Saturday (September 22) in Langley. Siebring is running for party president.
A group calling itself the Friends of B.C. Conservative Party is demanding a leadership contest.
In a previous interview with the Straight, ex–B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Wilson suggested that influential business circles do not have confidence in Cummins in the same way they’re not hopeful that B.C. Liberal premier Christy Clark can hold off a victory by the B.C. NDP in next year’s provincial election.
Asked for comment, Siebring responded by saying “Gordon Wilson is entitled to his opinion.” But he also acknowledged that he has “no idea what the impetus is behind” the anti-Cummins revolt.
“In any other set of circumstances,” Siebring continued, “if we weren’t eight months away from an election, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that [having a leadership contest]. But to do that right now, strategically, is the height of stupidity. Even the [B.C.] Liberals, who badly need a new leader, aren’t stupid enough to go down this road.”
Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen, who broke ranks with the B.C. Liberals to join the B.C. Conservatives in March, hasn’t publicly declared support for the embattled Cummins. Van Dongen didn’t grant the Straight an interview before deadline.