John Cummins faces rocky road as B.C. Conservative leader

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      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.


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      Sep 26, 2012 at 6:38pm

      It was always a surprise to me that anyone in the media or anyone else thought Cummins was a legitimate leader with any vision beyond bashing natives or... well, bashing natives, or that he was an actual threat to the BC Liberals. After all, this man epitomizes the worst of the Reform Party. And like his Reform colleagues federally he knew that to stay in the game he had to attach himself to the less threatening Conservative brand. That the BC Liberals and their big biz supporters ever took him seriously -- and they did -- is more a testament to their own imploding electoral confidence. And now the wolf is in hen house and the Conservative party is left to watch him take it to the chickens as they come home to roost. Meanwhile, the BC Liberals, especially Christy Clark, is left with an even more confused identity as a result of taking him seriously in the first place. Good on them both.