A political blogger residing in Kamloops recently published a new article on his site ‘acuriouslookatpoliticsinbc’, associated with the blogspot.ca website.  In his article, dated August 13, 2017, the author was highly critical (and justifiably so) of the recent antics of the BC Liberal Party and the NDP.  The author describes the two referenced parties as ‘hypocrites’ and also wants to tout his new Twitter Hash Tag ‘#NoMoreBS4BC‘.

I’m all for exposing hypocrisy and I believe strongly that the campaign for a ‘BS Free BC’ is a worthwhile goal.  My problem is – the author of this piece was reluctant to find any reason to find any similar grounds for criticizing his new (old) political home, the BC Conservative Party, for the same kind of hypocrisy and unethical behaviour that he was fervently attributing to just the BC Liberals and the NDP.

I’m going to make up for his ‘oversight’ and provide some interesting thoughts concerning the recent proposed changes and amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws of the BC Conservative Party, including a blockbuster change that should be ringing alarm bells throughout the BCCP Party membership – and all the way to the offices of Elections BC.

Based on many of the known facts concerning the BCCP as well as a number of unproven allegations made by former Directors and members of the BCCP, there are numerous decisions and events that could easily be described as ‘unethical’, ‘unconstitutional, in accordance with the BCCP’s own poorly conceived and draconian constitution’ and possibly even borderline illegal – if some of the allegations of fraudulent practices can be verified.

Am I waxing rhetorical – or are there factual references to back up my claim?  Where should I begin?  Perhaps with the reportedly unsettled lawsuit filed in BC Court of Queen’s Bench after the 2014 leadership campaign based on ‘smear letters’ that were distributed to voting members of the BCCP?

Perhaps with the current petition still circulating on the internet calling for the removal of the current President of the BCCP?

Perhaps with the confirmation that the current President of the BCCP actually joined another provincial political party in BC in 2016 (after he became President of the BCCP) , in direct contravention of the BCCP’s own constitution and bylaws?

Perhaps with the actual events concerning why the BCCP went into the 2017 general election without a Leader – after a series of events, accusations and denials that led to the Board lamely suggesting that the ‘official leadership race in 2016’ was voided due to ‘technicalities’ that have been vigorously and strongly challenged by certain party members?  All I know is that common sense would tell you that the position should have gone to the leadership challenger who finished second – but he apparently declined the ‘honour’, because of the somewhat bad taste the whole ordeal left.  As an afterthought, what are the chances that all four leadership contenders should have been given back their entry fees of Five Thousand Dollars each – given that the BCCP was unable to hold a valid and successful leadership contest?

Perhaps with the fact that the BCCP went into the 2017 election with only 10 candidates, a sad, juvenile election platform and neither a Leader nor a reasonably long-serving campaign manager and party spokesman (the holder of those two lofty positions jumping ship just weeks before the actual election date)?

No, I think I will begin with the ‘heart of the matter’ – a mindset and a political philosophy that appears exclusive (as opposed to inclusive), authoritarian (bordering on totalitarian) instead of democratic, closed to debate, dissent and discussion (instead of encouraging it) and run by a Board of Directors who do not appear to even respect and follow their own party’s constitution and bylaws.

Now, I have encouraged any one of the Board of Directors to discuss and debate the veracity of my carefully researched statements but all that has been forthcoming from the BCCP officers and directors – even their newest media sycophants, is silence, a refusal to even stand up for their own transgressions and questionable decisions.  I have precious little use for anyone who is unable and unwilling to ‘own their mistakes’, even provide justification for their own decisions – and I certainly wouldn’t want to vote such a person (or party) into a position of powerful political office.  That, for me, is the height of hypocrisy.

My blogging media associate, newly restored member of the BCCP, also pronounced in his August 13, 2017 article that ‘You are what you do, not what you say‘.  Sound words, good words, words to live by – unless you are the directors of the BCCP.  Time for me to call them out  in accordance with #NoMoreBS4BC.

Here are some of the alarming changes and amendments to the BCCP Constitution and Bylaws proposed by the BCCP officers and directors –  as well as some background history, substantiated by facts, actual documents in most cases, and allegations made by individuals who were present in some of the Board meetings that presumptively have led to the proposed constitutional changes.

Their voices have not been heard – because the current ‘leadership’ of the BC Conservative Party does not want their voices to be publicly heard and I am one of many former members who believe in knowing both sides of the story – before I make a final decision.  In the absence of normal, reasoned discussion and debate – all we are left with are the established facts and the direction that those facts lead.

These are some of the proposed constitutional and bylaw changes and amendments, saving the ‘best for last’.

By-Laws

Article 10.03 (existing)

The Constitution and By-Law Review Committee Chair shall present the proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws to the attendees at the AGM or SGM to be voted on a special resolution requiring a seventy five (75%) (two thirds (2/3)) majority vote of the Members present for adoption.

The background:  A Special General Meeting was held in June, 2015 and a handful of the members of the BCCP allowed the constitution and bylaws to be completely replaced.  The changes to the constitution and bylaws were mostly self-serving, protectionist wording intended to insulate the leadership and Board of Directors from criticism and dissension.  Some clauses were so mystifying as to be almost unbelievable.  The existing by-laws currently state that only 40% support is required for the BCCP leader to remain as leader of the party.  The democratic principle of majority rule does not even find a place in the BCCP bylaws.

Any change to the number of members required to change the constitution should be questioned, and seriously questioned, by responsible, concerned members of the BCCP.  A small roomful of individuals created a draconian and flawed constitution and bylaws for thousands of members back in 2015.

The current Board of Directors is asking that even fewer people have the ability to bind all members to a revised constitution – without a proper time frame or forum in which to discuss and debate.  This was one of the undemocratic, unprincipled fallacies of the last constitutional change and some of the defects in that document are leading to the changes being proposed by the Board at this time – strictly for their own protection from criticism and to  limit general membership rights and input/feedback.

Constitutional scholars and the legal community knows that the constitution and bylaws of an organization are the most critical and important documents that govern any society, organization or political body.  Changes to the constitution should never be made lightly, casually, without the input of the general members – or without a reasonable time frame that allows proper input and discussion.  It is irresponsible to make constitutional changes on any other basis.

Article 12.04 (existing)

The change only is provided hereunder, not the entire article referencing the Leader Candidate review process.

All approval of Candidates must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority (majority vote) of the entire Board of Directors and shall be final and binding.

The background:  The eligibility of the previous ‘Leader’ supposedly elected in the 2016 leadership contest was rejected because the successful candidate did not receive the necessary two-thirds (2/3) majority vote from the Board of Directors.  I find fault with the amendment on two grounds, first that it is self-serving and is only intended to avoid a similar embarrassment in future, and second, that I do not consider it democratic to even allow the Board of Directors to accept or reject a Leadership Candidate.  That should be the right of the many, not the right of the few.  That is the kind of exclusionary, autocratic political procedure that keeps more good people from entering into politics.

Article 17.03 (existing)

Such complaint must be in writing, must set out the details of the action or statement which gave rise to the complaint, the remedy sought, and such evidence as may be pertinent.

Article 17.03 (proposed)

Such complaint must be in writing, must set out the details of the action or statement which gave rise to the complaint, the remedy sought, and such evidence as may be pertinent.  Each complaint must also be accompanied by a $1,000.00 bond payable to the Party to be used at the Board’s discretion, to offset any legal or other costs that may be incurred in reaching a final disposition of the complaint.  Any unused funds from the bond would be returned to the complainant after final resolution of the complaint.  Should the complaint be found to be completely valid at the end of the complain process, the complainant’s $1,000.00 bond will be fully refunded to them in a timely fashion.

The background:

A formal complaint was filed by a former director of the BC Conservative Party in late 2016 after a number of matters were brought to light and outlined in accordance with the existing bylaws.  The current Board of Directors did not deal with the complaint in accordance with the BC Conservative Party’s own bylaws and refused the required appeal process to a valid and current member of the party.  In fact, one of the current Board Executive Members wrote back to the complainant indicating that the Board would not allow the appeal process – in direct violation of the existing bylaw.  (I have an electronic copy of the letter sent from the Board to the complainant on file).

The requirement to provide a One Thousand Dollar bond is clearly an intended deterrent to any member of the BC Conservative Party from filing any complaint against one, or multiple members, of the Board of Directors.  It is a sign of a totalitarian style of governance that brooks no opposition or dissension.  It is a disturbing sign of the kind of leadership that exists within the BC Conservative Party and all members, members of the public and perhaps even Elections BC should be concerned with the constitutionality of such an amendment, even in the context of Human Rights legislation.  I am hoping that IntegrityBC will eventually be drawn into looking into this whole sordid mess.

Finally, the denouement.  The Big One.  The reason that I think that Elections BC should be looking thoroughly and possibly forensically into the affairs of the BC Conservative Party.

Constitution

Title (existing)

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF THE BRITISH COLUMBIA CONSERVATIVE PARTY

Title (proposed)

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Further on:

Article 1.01 (proposed)

The “Party” means the “Conservative Party of British Columbia“, also known as the “Conservative Party of BC“, “BC Conservatives“, “Conservative BC” and the “CPBC“.

The background:

It has long been rumoured that the BC Conservative Party is in financial difficulty, in fact showing that it was insolvent as at the 2015 mandatory filing with Elections BC.  It has also be alleged that there may be a variety of lawsuits pending that involve the legal entity known as the ‘British Columbia Conservative Party’.  It is almost universally accepted that the British Columbia Conservative Party or BCCP is essentially a failing fringe party with eroding public support and with eroding membership.  It is factual that the BC Conservative Party only fielded 10 candidates as recently as 3 months ago and that the BCCP received less than 10,000 total (aggregate, combined) votes in the last province wide general election vote.  The BCCP was so insignificant that its results were not even followed on BC’s election night coverage on television, radio or other media – with the one exception of a candidate who ’tilted’ the Courtenay-Comox riding in favour of the NDP.

As a former corporate banker I am aware that the dissolution of a corporate entity or society can ‘extinguish’ any outstanding liabilities, debts and even potential liabilities and debts, contingent or otherwise.  In layman’s terms, when a corporation files for bankruptcy, the officers and directors of the bankrupt company are not normally held liable, unless there is evidence of fraud, collusions or improprieties that may have influenced the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy.

In most cases, those self-same officers and directors can establish a new company, debt free – and start the whole process all over again, unfettered by the haunting spectre of outstanding debt obligations and lawsuits, in process or potential.

This is the critical question the general membership should be asking – and Elections BC should be confirming.  Is the legal entity known as the ‘British Columbia Conservative Party’, ‘BC Conservatives’ and the ‘BCCP’ merely changing its name or is it actually the case that the existing political party is being extinguished and being reborn as the ‘Conservative Party of British Columbia’, the ‘Conservative Party of BC’, ‘BC Conservatives’, ‘Conservative BC’ and the ‘CPBC’?

The answer to that question has many ramifications.

First and foremost.  Does the British Columbia Conservative Party have a written commitment in place to honour any and all of its obligations, debts and agreements with all parties, including members agreements and even member complaints under the existing constitution and bylaws?

Second.  Does anyone with an understanding of the English language actually believe that someone can reserve the right to the usage of the words ‘Conservative BC’ when I daresay that hundred of thousands of individuals and entities consider themselves ‘conservative bc’ without the requirement or obligation of belonging to a newly proposed political body.  Capital ‘C’ conservatives are much different that small ‘ c’ conservatives and there is no possible way that the ‘Conservative BC’ name should be branded exclusively for the benefit of a few hundred failing political wannabes from a fringe political party.  Again, I trust that Elections BC and IntegrityBC will allow some overview and discussion on the matter.

Third.  ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’.  Gertrude Stein.  ‘A fringe political party is a fringe political party is a fringe political party’.  Me.  Nothing has changed or will change with the proposed change of name except that certain delusional individuals believe that they can somehow achieve legitimacy and credibility with a new name.  Voters (and members) will not be flocking to support the ‘Conservative Party of British Columbia’ any more than they rushed to support the ‘British Columbia Conservative Party’.  Just the facts.

Only a meaningful change – a change of philosophy, a change of direction, a change in accountability, a change in ethical behaviour and a change of officers and directors will positively influence the perception and the credibility of the BC Conservative Party.  There are numerous, too numerous to list, good reasons why the BC Conservative Party has been consistently rejected by the BC voter since the last member was elected in 1975.

A change of name will make no difference to the astute voter – whatsoever.

Now, let me encourage you to look up the names of the individuals who are currently serving on the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Conservative Party – and who will likely be resurfacing as candidates for office in the proposed Conservative Party of British Columbia and all of its iterations.  The party’s website is ‘bcconservative.ca’.   Soon to be ‘conservativebc.ca’  according to a WhoIs search.

They may be names worth remembering once all of the dust settles after the scheduled Annual General Meeting of the BCCP to be held on September 30th, 2017.  If you are a member of the BCCP, this may be your last chance to fix a political party that is very, very broken.   If you are not a member of the BCCP, take everything you hear from the BCCP with responsible scepticism.   Get the facts.   Demand the facts.  End the hypocrisy.  ‘You are what you do, not what you say’.

You heard it here first, folks.  Now, once again, I invite any and all members of the BCCP Board to respond to my assessment and insight into their manoeuvrings and machinations.

And, to my fellow blogger and political pundit who professes to abhor hypocrisy and who believes that ‘You are what you do, not what you say’.

What say you – and what are you going to do?  Let’s enter into a lively, spirited discussion and debate – with the best interests of all BC voters at stake.

#NoMoreBS4BC