John Cummins

John Cummins

Conservative vote already split, says former BC Liberal MLA

Former BC Liberal MLA John van Dongen says conservative vote is already split and BC Conservative Party best positioned to deny NDP victory

The conservative vote is already split, MLA John van Dongen told byelection volunteers at the opening of the BC Conservative campaign office Saturday in Chilliwack.

“A lot of the free-enterprise vote has already left the BC Liberal party,” he said. “The horse is out of the barn, if you want to put it in agricultural terms.”

The BC Liberals have been warning voters that a ballot cast for the BC Conservatives will split the vote and lead to an NDP victory in the byelection, and in next year’s provincial election.

But van Dongen suggested small-c conservatives voters need not fear splitting the vote because the BC Conservative Party is about to replace the BC Liberals as the free-enterprise coalition in B.C.

“The polls show it, but more importantly, the people are saying that,” van Dongen said, as he exhorted volunteers to work hard for the party’s candidate in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection.

“There’s a hunger for change,” he said. “Our job is to give them a credible option to vote for, and I believe John Martin is the guy in Chilliwack-Hope.”

Last week, van Dongen rocked the B.C. political world when he quit the BC Liberal party after 16 years and joined the BC Conservative party.

However, he did not resign his seat as the MLA for Abbotsford South, which would have triggered a byelection there.

It’s been an issue van Dongen’s critics pounced on, especially since BC Conservative Leader John Cummins has also said byelections should be held when a politician crosses the floor to join another political party.

But van Dongen said what most people outside his riding don’t know is that the BC Liberal party was working to take away his nomination as the riding’s candidate in the next provincial election.

“Within my own party, there was a movement to try and unseat me, to take away my nomination,” van Dongen said. “That has generated a lot of discussion in my riding that hasn’t existed in other ridings.”

And he said the residents of Abbotsford South “have said very clearly they want me on the job” no matter to which party he belongs.

“I take the view that I got elected to represent the constituency of Abbotsford South,” van Dongen said. “I’m not a different person today, and I don’t take different policy positions today than when I was elected.”

Cummins said van Dongen’s reputation and his decision to join the BC Conservatives “solidifies” the growing support for the party among B.C. voters.

“We have certainly risen in the polls, but having John come over solidifies that support,” he said. “People realize just how credible we are, we are a real option.”

Martin told his supporters at the campaign office opening that “we’re on the verge of dramatic change in this province.”

“There is a government in free-fall that has lost its way, that has lost its purpose, and, mercifully, there’s somebody else to come and pick up the slack and make sure the NDP doesn’t return us to an era of destruction like they did in the 1990s,” he said.

“The BC Conservatives are going to have a profound impact in 2013, and it’s going to start right here in Chilliwack-Hope,” he said. “We’re going to win this riding.”

Just Posted

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read