UFV criminologist John Martin is “ecstatic” to be welcomed into the B.C. Liberal party and hopes to be given the nod in Chilliwack for the next provincial election.
He resigned from the B.C. Conservatives at a press conference at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel Friday, flanked by former B.C. Liberals candidate Laurie Throness and retiring MLA John Les.
Martin was peppered with questions about his role as one-time rival and vociferous critic of the B.C. Liberals, while running in Chilliwack-Hope last spring for the B.C. Conservatives.
He was ready with answers.
“Simply put, I believe there is more that unites us than divides us,” he said, adding he thinks he can work better from within.
Martin cast aside suggestions he was flip-flopping by defecting. He smiled and posed while signing his B.C. Liberals membership card on-camera.
He called the Liberals’ “a big tent” where there’s ample room for a broad spectrum of opinions from free-enterprisers like himself.
The real aim is preventing “another disastrous NDP government,” he said.
“We have to be big enough to show that we can unite and put the interests of British Columbia ahead of parties.”
He decided recently the B.C. Conservatives party was “no longer” for him upon careful reflection.
“I knew change was in the air shortly after the byelection,” he said, when the Conservatives were experiencing a profound sense of demoralization.
A mutual friend of his and some B.C. Liberals initiated discussions about his joining the other party.
“This has not been underway for a long time.”
It was suggested last Friday’s announcement was timed to upstage the B.C. Conservatives’ annual meeting.
But Martin said it was the ability of people like Les and Throness to map out a different perspective on the party and its leader.
“I liked what I heard.”
“Obviously this is an imperfect party, they all are. However this administration has done a lot of good things,” he said.
He has made clear his opposition of the B.C. carbon tax and the incineration option for the region. But in general he likes what he sees.
“They’re going in the right direction and they’re in the process of renewal.
“And again I am thrilled and excited to be part of that process of renewal.”
But the provincial media continued to press him about the barrage of criticism he leveled at the B.C. Liberals, and whether it will come back to haunt him.
Martin is a competitive barbecue pit master, so he threw out a joke with a culinary twist:
“If anyone can make eating crow taste good, it’s me.”
But the byelection campaign was “tense” and “emotional” but not personal in any way.
“I think this shows people change, times change and most important for me the B.C. Liberals are showing change by welcoming me.”