Monday, July 15, 2013

When John Cummins steps down, what then for the BC Conservatives? Does anyone care?

I assume John Cummins will step down as BC Conservative leader sometime soon, there is no possible way that the party should keep him as leader given the horrendous job he has done.   The fall of the party from a serious contender for seats in early 2012 to fringe party status has been dramatic.
  1. In 2012 the party managed to do significantly worse in the two by-elections than expected.  At the same time John Cummins managed to drive away the one MLA willing to cross the floor to the Conservatives.
  2. The 2013 general election was a significant failure for the party given that in 2009 with only 24 candidates it managed to get over 10% in the Okanagan but in 2013 it could not build on this.   The party could not manage to run a full slate, had to drop candidates it had not vetted did not manage to fill in the forms correctly to get five of their candidates to be listed as Conservatives on the ballot.
  3. We then come to the recent by-election in Westside-Kelowna.   The social media presence of the party was non-existent - the party website has not been updated since the general election.   The leader did not seem to be putting any energy of effort into the race.  The party could not get the volunteers from all over the Okanagan to work on the campaign as it should have been able to.
Cummins will go, he has to go, but when?   The party has their AGM in September but has as of now not announced any details about it.  I assume this would be the time for him to step down but honestly no one seems to really care about him any longer.   Who would be willing to take over as leader?   Given the very small membership base, realistically anyone that could sign up 200 to 300 people should be able to win the post.

I have no real insight into the BC Conservatives so what I am offering here is a list of my best guesses at who might be want to be the next leader of the BC Conservatives:

John Cummins redux:
  • Paul Forseth - MP from 1993 to 2006 for various iterations of ridings based on New Westmister and parts of Burnaby.   He is a couple of years younger than Cummins and never had the sort of profile Cummins had as an MP.
Current Party Leadership
  • Dan Brooks - is currently on the board of the party.  He ran in Nechako Lakes and did seem to do well enough given the disaster of the campaign.  He seems personable and intelligent.  He also seems to be in it for the long run
  • Christine Clark - has been on the board and seems loyal to the current power structure of the party.  I am not convinced she would run to be leader.
  • Al Siebring - he seems to be the main power in the party but I do think he has any interest in being leader,  He is the current Conservative Party board secretary and a sitting North Cowichan councilor. 
Not in the inner circles that I can tell
  • Graeme James - he has been elected to Kelowna council.  I am not sure at his desire for more in poltiics.
  • Scott Anderson - he put a lot of energy into the election in Vernon-Monashee and is not ready to walk away from politics
  • Sean Upshaw - he seems more committed to making the party work than most people.
  • Kurt Peats - ran in Peace River South and did the best of any Conservative candidate in the 2013 election coming in second with 27.2% of the vote.  This the first time a Conservative has placed this high in any election or by-election sine a 1978 by-election in Oak Bay which was won by Vic Stephens for the PCs.   His relative success and the area of the province he is from makes him a strong choice for a new leader if the party wants to be taken seriously
  • Rick Peterson - he tried to get rid of Cummins before and seems to have some form of political aspirations
The Youth - I see three possible youth candidates trying to win
  • Bryce Crigger  - he ran in Nanaimo.  At 24 he was the youngest Conservative candidate
  • Chad Eros - he ran in Chilliwck for the party and had a lot of energy
  • Ryan Warawa - I know he has further political aspirations
The Off the Wall
  • Wilf Hanni - a return for the serial political party leader.  Honestly I do not think he has the organizational skills to take over the party
  • Mischa Popoff - the off the wall guy from Boundary Similkameen that was a candidate for the party till they dropped him for being too off the wall for them.
If I were to put money on who would win, I would choose either Dan Brooks or Kurt Peats with a long shot chance for one of the younger guys.

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