Former MP John Cummins launches B.C. Conservative leadership bid

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      Just weeks after announcing his departure from federal politics, John Cummins declared his candidacy today for the leadership of the B.C. Conservative Party.

      After serving for 18 years as a member of Parliament, Cummins launched his leadership campaign today (March 29) by branding himself as the “commonsense choice” for B.C. voters.

      “The choice between the Liberals and the NDP is like a choice between airline food and hospital food,” he said at a news conference in downtown Vancouver. “They’ll both keep you alive—maybe—but not much else. British Columbians deserve a choice they are actually excited to vote for, not two parties they have to hold their noses to support.”

      The B.C. Conservatives have been without a leader since Wilf Hanni resigned in June 2009, citing infighting on the party’s board of directors. A leadership convention will take place on May 28.

      In launching his leadership bid, Cummins also announced a policy to ban all provincial political donations from corporations and unions.

      “If a party cannot raise money from the voters, it has no business representing them in the legislature,” he told media and a crowd of supporters.

      In a speech heavy with criticism of the B.C. Liberals, Cummins dismissed the HST as implemented in B.C. as a “tax grab”.

      “It is fundamentally unfair, since taxes went up on hundreds of items that were not covered by the old PST,” he said. “And despite the best efforts of the Liberal government, the people will decide the fate of the HST in June.”

      Cummins also focused on issues such as crime and small business in his speech, and called current provincial spending levels “out of control”.

      “People are getting less and less for all that spending—an education system in disarray, a child services ministry riddled with problems, our police stretched too thin to fight gang and drug smugglers and long waiting lists for health care,” he said.

      Cummins dismissed questions of whether the B.C. Conservatives could split votes among Liberal supporters, to the advantage of the NDP.

      “We’re not concerned about vote-splitting, we’re concerned about getting the vote out,” he said. “If you look at the last election, 48 percent of British Columbians did not bother to turn up and vote.”

      “If there is vote-splitting in the next election, it’ll be the Liberals that will be splitting the vote, not the B.C. Conservatives,” he added.

      The 69-year-old politician was first elected as an MP for the Reform Party in 1993. On March 12, he announced he would not be seeking re-election as the MP for Delta-Richmond East.

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      Stewart MacKenzie

      Mar 29, 2011 at 1:36pm

      If you don't think the BC Liberals have a unity problem yet, just watch the players in the Federal campaigns the next few weeks. This won't be like the leadership "love in", as Harperites like Falcon will be pitted against Christy's Fed Lib buddies. It won't be pretty!

      Watch for a big move in the redneck and Christian Right vote
      once the BC Cons get the new leadership up and running. Cummins is already going after them hard - including slamming the HST, a bit funny as he seemed to support it as a Harper initiative up till now!
      Other Reform/Harperite heavies will be weighing in soon - Cummins is no Wilf Hanni, and will likely be reinforced by
      stalwarts like Randy White, Brian Peckford, and other well known names beloved in the Fraser Valley and the Peace River!
      Christy will try to play it down, but Blair Lekstrom is worried. He was on CBC noon news responding to Cummins' announcement and didn't sound at all happy.

      Watching these right wingers tear pieces off each other will be great sport, though not to be preferred to a Cup for the Canucks!


      Mar 29, 2011 at 1:44pm

      Christy, we have a problem.

      With a credible leader (yes, JC will be anointed) the success of the BC Conservatives now will depends who they now attract as candidates. Disgruntled Liberals (Colin Hansen types) means a credible political threat and a return to radio for Christy Crunch. Disgruntled human beings (Randy White types) means a continuity of fringeness and a return to retirement for JC. Jury still out.

      Either way, the NDP is doing back-flips over this development.

      Let the battle begin

      Mar 29, 2011 at 2:00pm

      Way to go John Cummings, a choice on the right. Now if only there were a provincial party on the left to those quislings, the NDP, a good fight.

      Stewart MacKenzie

      Mar 29, 2011 at 2:27pm

      Bruno 15 - I mostly agree with you, but must point out that
      Disgruntled human beings (Randy White types) have been overwhelming winners in their constituencies, as surely as socialist types in Vancouver East. We may scorn them, but their appeal to their base is undeniable. With the attention they can attract from the media they will soon be known to many right wing voters, who have been unhappy with the Libs and don't much like Christy.

      In ridings like our Cariboo North, the margins of victory have been narrow in the past (aside from the 2001 fiasco) and a few hundred votes pulled from the BC Libs can hand a seat to the NDP.

      In Cariboo North itself, with an Independent MLA potentially running with some normally NDP organizing and voter support, and with a huge number riled up about the HST, a strong BC Con campaign could cost the Libs what seems to many like a near certain win here.


      Mar 29, 2011 at 3:21pm

      @Stewart MacKenzie - "Disgruntled human beings" was indelicate. I retract and replace with "Disgruntled social conservatives".

      I think we are on the same page, however. With a credible leader for the Conservatives who can present a plausible election scenario, a split on the center-right based on urban vs. rural, Liberal vs. Conservative is very realistic. The potential blood bath from this in-fighting could make the Baker's Dozen affair seem civil by comparison. The NDP now would appear to be in the driver's seat.

      Can't wait for this shit storm.

      glen p robbins

      Mar 29, 2011 at 3:50pm

      It appears about time to see about the $30 million in lost business - and see if Christy wants to make good on her promise.

      I'm Back in the Saddle again ------I'm Baaack

      Ken Lawson

      Mar 29, 2011 at 5:02pm

      I think I will join now, cannot stand parties run by Union bosses and Liberals who even lie to their own members, I will cut up membership card and move over now. Reformer

      kat hee

      Mar 29, 2011 at 5:15pm

      "it will be the liberals splitting the vote. not conservatives" LOL. that sounds reminiscent of the type of logic i had when i was three. "if i go like this, and you happen to run into me and get punched, its yoru fault" LOL. BCians, dont vote conservative, because we believe in democracy, and we dont want our coveted petition and recall powers taken away from us, like the rest of the provinces who are powerless to politicians whims. WE are in control in BC, and it will stay that way, so long as we keep the CONS out of the race. i personally will be putting up anti con (on both levels) signs on my lawn, i dont care who you vote for, as long as its not conservatives.

      glen p robbins

      Mar 29, 2011 at 6:17pm

      John Cummins told Michael Smyth - Victoria's Sin Fine reporter that he voted NDP in the May 2009 general provincial election.

      The vote split issue is not relevant anymore--unless your Christy Clark.

      Ken Simpson

      Jul 19, 2011 at 11:21am

      John Cummings has it right..
      Are you Listening Christy Clark, Mayor's, Translink officals.
      The waste at Translink is so strong you can smell it from Langley all the way to Vancouver.
      John Cummings is taking easy on those who run translink.
      You could cut 5 percent of the waste and not make a dent to their plans.
      The bosses at TransLink are in make work project and waste Management business>Make work for themselves and waste as much public money as possible.......