News reports are out that the BC Conservatives are infighting again. It seems the party neglected to send out a ballot for the annual leadership review in the run up to their September 22nd AGM. The current constitution calls for an annual vote by the members on the leadership.
So why did the ballots not go out?
1) Incompetence, which seems to be what John Cummins says is the case, they simply forgot. I would tend to believe this if I was not hearing rumours of discontent with John Cummins
2) There is an active movement to remove John Cummins and not sending out the ballots will slow that process down.
The upshot of the "error" is that the party will hold a special general meeting on September 8th to change the constitution to remove the annual leadership ballot as a requirement.
The reticence of John Van Dongen to come out 100% behind the leader and confirm there was an error is very odd unless Van Dongen holds aspirations to be leader.
Meanwhile party director John Crocock seems rather tongue tied when it comes to supporting his leader.
Whatever happens coming out of this, it will severely harm the organizing of the party for the next election. Serious strong candidates are not going to put their neck on the line for a dysfunctional party. Fundraising is not going to happen.
We are nine months away for the provincial election which means right now is the core time to get ready for the election if you are going to have any realistic chance of winning anything at all. The BC Conservatives will more or less come to the start of the election well back of where they need to be which means the chances of winning any seats is quickly receding.
The Chilliwack-Hope by-election showed how weak the BC Conservatives were, they should have won if they really were going to be a threat in this province. As it turned out they came third and showed that the party could not muster the resources and campaign skills needed to run in one riding.
The BC Conservatives will still probably take 10-13% of the vote next May, but that is not enough to win seats.
For reference given that the Party plans on changing the constitution, the relevant sections of the October 2010 constitution:
9.02 The Leader can only be removed from office by resignation, death, incapacitation, or the vote of a fifty percent (50% + 1) majority of the members who vote in a universal mail-in ballot.
9.03 A Leadership review will be held in conjunction with every AGM. A ballot will be sent to members in good standing with the official AGM Notice. The Members shall be asked the question “Do you vote in favor of a Leadership Election? Yes or No. Completed ballots may be brought to the AGM or may be returned to the Party under terms of legal service. (i.e. mail or express courier) and must be received by the Party prior to the AGM, or at the AGM if hand delivered, in order to be counted and checked. If 50% +1 of the ballots submitted vote Yes then a Leadership Convention shall be called. If a Leadership Convention is called the Leader shall step down.
9.04 In the event that the Leader in the opinion of the Board is derelict in his or her duties, or brings the office of the Leader or the BC Conservative Party into scandal or disrepute as determined by a 2/3 majority vote by secret Ballot not including the Leader as a voting member in this determination, may call a Special
General Meeting (SGM) for the purpose of conducting a Leadership review. The Leadership review process shall be carried out by the same terms and conditions as the regular AGM Leadership review process except for the fact that it is occurring at a SGM called for the purpose of a Leadership Review by the Board.