Infighting with the BC Conservative party

Image from Surrey NOW.

15 disciplinary letters are sent to various members

By Anne Marie Abraham, Contributor

Last week, 15 members of the BC Conservative Party were sent disciplinary letters from the party president, Al Siebring, for violating the processes in the party’s bylaws from Section 11.04. The members were accused of making public calls demanding a resignation from John Cummins not long after the meeting took place. The letters included the terminations of some members, while others were letters of censure.

At the BC Conservative party’s annual general meeting last month, a vote was held that threatened the position party leader, John Cummins. The opponents within the party were unsatisfied with the party’s performance in two spring by-elections. At 70.1 per cent, Cummins won the vote and retained his role as party leader.

Cummins warned the dissidents at the end of the meeting to “get in line or leave the party.” In retaliation, the dissidents demanded that Cummins step down as party leader. They argued Cummins’ suitability for leading the party into the May 2013 election. The consequences of the meeting led John van Dongen, the party’s only sitting member of the legislature, to quit the party and to sit as an independent.

As a result, the Board of the BC Conservative Party passed two motions to ensure the same violations would not occur a second time. The first motion was to build a “Unity Committee.” This Committee will move towards the improvement of their internal processes. The party is looking for more communication between the members, the Constituency Association Presidents, and the Boards. The intent is for the party to function together.

Vice-President Christine Clarke and Director Dennis Brooks are expected to be part of the Committee, with Director Daniel Brooks acting as chairman.

The second motion is to express the party’s “full confidence and support for John Cummins as the Leader of the BC Conservative Party heading into the May 2013 election.”

Allison Patton, a former Constituency Association President in Surrey, sent out photos of herself with a framed copy of her expulsion letter in hand. She claims that she is ignorant as to why she has been branded a dissident. Patton, along with a fellow dissident, Ariane Eckardt, will challenge Leader John Cummins in a debate if the call for a “Truth and Reconciliation Committee” is ignored. Patton has given the party seven days to make a “Truth and Reconciliation Committee” or accept the debate.

A recent Angus Reid poll was released last Friday. The results showed that support for the Conservative Party had fallen from 19 to 16 per cent.