In Reality Check BC 2017 – Part 1 we discussed the reasons that the ‘not a coalition’ will implode and force BC voters (hopefully wiser) back to the polls. Investors in BC (most of us, as previously defined), will look for fiscally conservative alternatives to restore growth and sustainability to a shrinking economy that may start affecting the lives of BC residents sooner – not later.
Some will argue that the BC Conservative Party should be explored as an option – in time for the anticipated next ‘dropping of the writ’.
So we don’t all waste collective time, resources and false hope on a ‘non starter’, here are ten (10) reasons why the BC Conservative Party is not an option – at least in the foreseeable future.
Ten Reasons Why The BC Conservative Party is not Viable, Credible or Electable
- BCCP went into the 2017 election without a leader. Why? Does the BCCP not know that the voter expects a party to have a ‘leader’ to answer questions, to provide a vision and insight into policy and philosophy and to ‘lead’ the party in the legislature? Of course the BCCP knows that. Unfortunately (for them), the matter of leadership has been an ongoing disaster since John Cummins and John van Dongen vied to ‘lead’ the BCCP in 2013. Since then, acrimonious leadership campaigns (Brooks/Peterson, Brooks/Pimiskern) replete with ongoing lawsuits for defamation and resignations, ‘second comings’ and farcical leadership campaigns have resulted in the re-emergence of a resigned leader who was accused of a litany of indiscretions and ultimately rejected as ‘leader’ by the dysfunctional Board of the BCCP – without being honest and forthright with paid BCCP party members concerning the actual reasons for the disqualification of the ‘leader. Petitions are still circulating concerning the 2016 debacle and the BCCP limped into the 2017 election leaderless and essentially clueless. Here is an interesting collection of thoughts. If there was a legitimate leadership race, why did the second place finisher not become leader? If he didn’t want the job, why didn’t the third place contestant then become leader? If there wasn’t a duly constituted leadership race, why didn’t all of the candidates get their Five Thousand Dollar entry fees back from the BCCP? Because the BCCP is insolvent? Are there any pending or outstanding lawsuits that have resulted from the failed 2016 leadership debacle? We could go on but it should be apparent that there are significant leadership problems ongoing with the BCCP. If the BCCP can’t figure out how to anoint a leader due to its dysfunctional internal problems, how can it legitimately be seen by anyone as a viable and electable alternative in a forthcoming election?
- Since 2013, the BCCP has had Five (5) different Presidents and Boards – each of them dysfunctional and incompetent in their own unique ways. Currently a petition is circulating because the current President and Board reportedly refuses to follow its own constitution. One prior Board resigned en masse and a self-appointed Board seized control of the BCCP without ever getting the approval or consent of the membership. None of the Boards have seen the need to invariably respond to written correspondence, to accept responsibility for inept actions and inactions and none of the Boards have taken any responsibility for the mass resignations of BCCP members, to follow established Parliamentary Procedure and Roberts Rules or to recuse and disqualify participation in resolutions and discussions where there was a clear conflict of interest. Why would a BC voter wish to support a political entity that has apparent disdain and disregard for the safeguards, checks and balances and procedures that should ensure fairness, equity, respect for dissent and a myriad of other lofty principles?
- Since 2013, the membership base of the BCCP has significantly eroded as former members abandoned the BCCP due to its dysfunctionality. The policy of recent Boards has been to treat dissension with expulsion, threats of expulsion, a variety of largely unenforceable and ridiculous punitive measures in a contrived, totalitarian style constitution and to largely limit itself to compliant sycophants who do not acknowledge mistakes and weaknesses in policy and procedure. Unbelievably, numerous former BCCP Presidents, Directors and even 2013 Candidates were denied membership in the BCCP in the past two years. As a result, the BCCP must be seen as an exclusionary, elite political party rather than an inclusive, welcoming political entity that can serve the needs of all BC voters and residents.
- The 2017 political campaign undertaken by the BCCP was an absolute disaster. The number of candidates representing the BCCP reduced from sixty (60) plus in 2013 (prior to Cummins and crew firing four (4) candidates before the election) down to ten (10) in 2017. Those 10 candidates managed to collectively amass less than ten thousand (10,000) votes province wide. The platform planks announced by the BCCP were juvenile and an embarrassment to the BCCP. The absurdities included building another combination ferry/bridge crossing from the mainland to Vancouver Island utilizing a previously touted fantasy proposal brought forward by a conspiracy theorist who (hopefully in jest) empathizes with pebbles in streams (his words, not mine), audits Taliban hit contracts and performs other global tasks of sufficient import as to ensure the safety of the free world. This individual actually represented another fringe political party federally in a previous election and was summarily rejected by the voters, as were his political points of view. Did the BCCP perform due diligence on this initiative? Of course not. That would have shown some political accountability and due diligence. Another plank in the platform was to eliminate pay parking in certain hospitals throughout the province. A matter of major budgetary import in comparison to all of the multi-billion dollar challenges and issues. A third example? Allow a ‘tax refund’ to the financially disadvantaged to allow them to get back some of the money they would contribute to charitable causes. It apparently never occurred to the BCCP political elite that the disadvantaged would need to spend that money instead on food, shelter and other necessities of life. The reason that they are poor is that they don’t have the money in the first place to donate. We could rail on but the gist of the discussion is that the BCCP ran a horrible, ineffective and almost comedic 2017 campaign – and none of the Board of Directors takes any responsibility. One of the major shortcomings of the BCCP. There is culture of avoidance and unaccountability. This cannot be rectified in time for a quick election announcement.
- Financially, the BCCP has struggled to remain solvent. The last financial report filed with Elections BC showed the BCCP $26,000 in debt. Insolvent. No financial information subsequent has been officially reported to regulatory authorities and available for public overview. Internal financial statements profess that the BCCP has ‘whittled’ away at its insolvency but there are also inside reports from former directors of the BCCP which indicate that there may be non-disclosed, ‘off the books’ liabilities and obligations which are not part of the financial ‘snapshot’ shown to regulators and the public. Even membership reportedly has difficulties in getting accurate and timely up to date financial information. We know, for a fact, that the BCCP floated an optional alternative to ‘would be candidates’ in the 2017 election whereby the candidate would essentially pay for all of his/her own campaign expenses and provide an additional partially refundable fee to the BCCP. This fee was presumably for the ‘privilege’ of being associated with the BCCP. Bottom line? Any individual or group interested in pursuing the BCCP as a vehicle for coalescing small ‘c’ conservative voters may be dealing with liabilities and contingent liabilities that would prohibit any possible financial resource base from which to mount a forthcoming election campaign. An astute individual might ask why political donors contributed over $12 million to the Liberals in 2016, millions to the NDP in 2016 – and virtually nothing to the BCCP. Donors did not ‘buy’ because the BCCP has nothing to sell.
- The BCCP does not enjoy the support of the federal Conservative Party of Canada or the support of other conservative parties in other provinces. The leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, Jason Kenny, allegedly recently openly urged guests at a federal Conservative Party dinner in Vancouver to ‘support the BC Liberal Party of Christy Clark’. I am personally aware of a number of card carrying federal conservatives who either ran for, or support, the BC Liberals. Why? Because the BC Liberals are a credible small ‘c’ conservative option – and the BCCP are not. The BCCP has done nothing positive to elevate its status beyond ‘marginal fringe party’.
- There is another movement afoot to ‘bring back’ Dan Brooks who is completely and thoroughly unelectable. Brooks was a divisive and polarizing leader. While his few but zealous supporters would welcome a ‘third coming’, literally thousands of former members would stand clear of the BCCP for that reason alone. Brooks has the support of individuals who have admitted in court documents that they smeared other leadership contestants, Brooks himself had been accused on separate occasions that he has accessed and misused BCCP files and records. Brooks’ 2016 leadership campaign was highlighted by aggressive questionable actions against his opponents, including alleged manipulation of the BCCP website and membership database, still an issue being pursued by some members. Brooks’ ‘vision’ for the BCCP was equally unsupportable, including petty, insignificant ‘hunting’ related initiatives but most disturbingly, a promise to build a ‘BC Pipeline’ paid for by the BC taxpayer and in defiance of most of the regulatory requirements. Dan Brooks is seen by some as an unelectable, egocentric ‘loose cannon’ – who has a number of sycophants supporting him still on the BCCP Board of Directors.
- We have met with, interviewed or otherwise interacted with a growing number of BCCP former members who simply will not consider rejoining the party. This growing list includes former Presidents and directors of the BCCP as well as former candidates and constituency executives. The experience has totally alienated these individuals who are card carrying federal Conservatives in many cases. These people would represent much of the potential base of the BCCP – and they are adamant in many cases that they will not entertain a return to the BCCP.
- The BCCP has serious constitutional deficiencies and has perpetuated a culture in which a few key individuals control the BCCP, alternately amending the constitution to meet their personal objectives but even more alarmingly, to ignore the constitution when it best suits them to do so. This is a systemic fatal flaw in the mindset of too many individuals within the BCCP and it indicates that ethical practices are not enshrined in the minds, nor the actions, of many former and current executive members. We will not gain broadbased support without an ethical party that embraces integrity – and demonstrably so. At the moment, petitions, lawsuits, negative press, negative narratives and negative media coverage (where there is any) abounds. The image of the BCCP is tarnished to the point of being irreversible – certainly in time for a quick election.
- The BCCP, if seen by some as a potential alternative to ‘uniting the right’, will continue to dampen the efforts and resources of groups and individuals who are looking for a viable alternative. There is too much baggage, too much water under the bridge and a litany of failures and questionable practices that continue to haunt the BCCP. What legitimate party would allow a leader to remain with 40% support? What supportable party would allow its constitution to be replaced by a small group representing less than 5% of its membership base? What credible political party would hold a leadership contest – and emerge without a leader? What political political party has been described by mainstream media as the ‘most dysfunctional’ political party in Canada? The BCCP.
The dream of the BC Conservative Party has devolved into a nightmare. It is long past time that committed, small ‘c’ conservatives wake up from this bad dream and turn valuable efforts and collective resources towards a positive, sustainable and supportable alternative. In time for the looming next provincial election.
In Reality Check BC 2017 – Part 3, we will look at some of the other options and opportunities available to engaged, but concerned, voters and political participants.