Friday, September 24, 2010

The BC Conservatives

With the announcement today that former Reform MP Jim Hart has joined them, the party keeps moving forward and they still have no leader.

I suspect that Bill Vander Zalm will step forward to be the leader of the party.  I was listening to him on CFAX in Victoria today, where he was on for an hour, and it sounded like was defacto campaigning to be premier again.   Sure, he will deny it, he will say no, no and thrice no, but eventually he will cave to the draft Vander Zalm campaign that is building.

The Conservative party is looking more and more like old style Social Credit or the Reform party.    This alone should be of concern to the Liberals and NDP because of the sort of populist grassroots organizing is not part of their world.

The big problem on the right in BC has been the constant fracturing into many tiny groups.  Even now with the rise of the BC Conservatives, one of them new ones is BC First and put together by Sal Vetro, a core member of the Anti HST campaign.   There is still the BC Refederation Party which managed to build up a tiny core of people in the last election.   There is still even a rump of Social Credit and BC Reform out there.

Much will depend on what happens with the leader of the BC Conservatives and if the party can avoid ripping  itself apart over irrelevant doctrinal minutiae as has happened constantly on the right in BC since 1997.

Here is the press release:
International Governance and Democracy expert joins BC Conservative Advisors
The BC Conservative party has added another prominent member to its tactical advisory board.
Party President Wayne McGrath said former member of Parliament Jim Hart is a seasoned parliamentarian who brings more than 20 years of experience as an elected official, party organizer, strategist, trainer and spokesman on a variety of legislative and policy issues.
Nationally and internationally, he is considered one of the world's leading experts in the many aspects of Parliament and its institutions.
Hart's wealth of political experience includes municipal politics before being elected to Parliament in 1993 and re-elected in 1997. He has compiled an impressive overseas portfolio, developing democracies and strengthening institutions in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I want to help the BC Conservative Party to bring back representation to the people of British Columbia that has been lost under the BC Liberals. The BC Conservative Party is a true conservative movement that represents an opportunity for positive change in the next election," Hart said.
The advisory group serves as a guide to the elected board and the members. The membership decides the course, policy and election platform that the party will set, said McGrath.
"The advisory group brings elected experience and a wealth of knowledge in the establishment, operations and success of political parties in government and opposition. I am glad to be a part of this team," said Hart.
Randy White, chairman of the advisory group, said Hart is an exceptional resource, providing extensive experience in municipal, federal and international politics to the BC Conservative Party. "Jim is out of the country at the moment because he consults with developing democracies to improve their institutions. Many people have asked me about Jim running for a Conservative seat in the Legislature but that is a choice Jim and his family will make in the future," said White, a former House Leader in the House of Commons.
The BC Conservative party will hold its annual general meeting and convention Oct. 16 at the University of British Columbia.
Biography notes for James A. Hart
Mr. Hart is a seasoned parliamentarian professional with over 20 years of experience as an elected official, party organizer, strategist, trainer and spokesperson on a variety of legislative and policy issues.
Mr. Hart brought his political, management and governance experience to international development in 2004. In Georgia and Iraq Mr. Hart has developed significant and strategic relationships with parliamentarians, government leaders and civil society for the purpose of strengthening the institution of parliament.
James Hart was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1955. He was educated in Calgary, Alberta Canada and completed his military training at Fleet School Halifax, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden and CFB Esquimalt. He completed his broadcasting diploma at the Columbia Academy of Radio and Television Arts in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1981. In addition,
Mr. Hart has studied at the Canadian Securities Institute, completing the Canadian Securities Course and the Ethics, Conduct and Practices Program. In 2005, in Tbilisi, Georgia, Georgian Technical University conferred the title of Honorary Doctor of Laws to Mr. Hart for his work strengthening democracy in the Parliament of Georgia.
Mr. Hart was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1993 and re-elected in 1997 securing an overwhelming majority in the nomination and on Election Day. As a member of Canada’s Official Opposition, in 1998 he was elected, by his peers from all parties, as the Vice Chairman of the House Standing Committee of Defense and Veterans’ Affairs. As well, Hart was appointed and served as the Shadow Minister for Justice and Defense. Mr. Hart was active in House of Commons international affairs serving as an executive member on the Canada/Japan and the NATO Parliamentary Associations and represented Canada in many overseas parliamentary delegations from 1993-2000.
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