John Cummins and John van Dongen political marriage was doomed from the start
The divorce is finally official, but the marriage had been on the rocks for a while.
Sometimes, couples are doomed from the start because they have so little in common.
And so it seems with the political betrothal last April between B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins and Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen.
The day after their shotgun wedding on the eve of two provincial by-elections, I wrote a column pointing out how far apart these two had been on aquaculture.
Cummins, who previously made his living in the commercial fishing industry, had been a vehement opponent of open-net salmon farming. Van Dongen, a former B.C. Liberal minister of agriculture, had been one of the aquaculture industry's greatest proponents at the cabinet table.
Meanwhile in the B.C. Liberal leadership race, van Dongen supported George Abbott, a former New Democrat who's considered more progressive than most members of his party. Cummins is one of the last people with sympathy for anyone whose politics smacked of federal Liberalism.
But like expectant parents, Cummins and van Dongen were looking forward to the arrival of their first B.C. Conservative MLA, John Martin, in the Chilliwack-Hope by-election.
Similar to many doomed couples, they expected that a newcomer to the family would bring them closer together, sustaining their relationship.
But Martin's political career was stillborn as the NDP's Gwen Mahoney won handily in Chilliwack-Hope on April 29. And Cummins and van Dongen were stuck together in an increasingly poisonous pairing.
Cummins must have had suspicions that van Dongen was an opportunist. That's how the B.C. Conservative leader has traditionally viewed B.C. Liberal politicians over the years.
It's one reason why his political ally, Vicki Huntington, ran as an independent, defeating Wally Oppal in Delta South in 2009.
Cummins also disagreed with the B.C. Liberals on numerous issues, including the carbon tax, the expansion of port facilities in Delta, and the way the province negotiated a treaty with the Tsawwassen First Nation. He can't have been impressed by the B.C. Liberals' "Can't Trust Cummins" website, which was designed to tear him down before he had a chance to articulate his positions to the B.C. electorate.
For his part, Van Dongen didn't believe Cummins had what it took to lead the party to victory. That was pretty clear in van Dongen's refusal to endorse Cummins as leader in recent weeks.
Now, the split is official with van Dongen announcing that he's parted ways with Cummins and the B.C. Conservatives. It came after a slate opposed to the leader failed to get elected to the board of directors.
Van Dongen has jilted two provincial political parties in less than five months and Cummins is probably feeling a bit foolish that he even got involved with him in the first place.
As Quiet Riot likes to sing, Love's a bitch.