ON SATURDAY (Sept. 30) the BC Conservative Party, a continuously active political party in British Columbia since 1903, held its annual general meeting in Langley. Unlike the last one held in Langley a number of years ago … and knowing how troublesome trying to make changes can be … the whole process went very smoothly.
A new president and board were elected, as Ryan Warawa took the helm as President. Elected as Vice President was Jeff Bridge, who like myself, recently returned to the party. Bob Bray will continue as the Party Treasurer, as does Bob Brown as Secretary.
Nearly all motions for changes to Constitution and bylaws were passed, with two notable exceptions. First was the vote against changing the name of the party from the BC Conservative Party — to the Conservative Party of British Columbia. Additionally, one which many individuals seemed to be strongly against, was a change that would have seen a complaint to the party “… accompanied by a $1,000 bond … 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….”.
Many were in agreement that costs could, and would, likely be incurred by the party, in dealing with complaints. It appeared however that the majority felt it could signal closure in trying to stop complaints, as well as a strong feeling that the cost would be too high for some.
Comments from Corbin Mitchell, who was retiring as President, included a message from the wife of the late Ian Marchuck, who recently passed away; Ian had been the Peace River Regional Director.
His widow Erna had written an email to Corbin in which she said to him, “May this year’s AGM reflect a spirit of reconciliation and focus to further the voice of British Columbians, and indeed that of British Columbians.”
And as Corbin stated in responding to that message, “Wise words indeed”
Additionally, while not in the notes for his official speech, Corbin made a comment that truly resonated with me. That was that, “We (BC Conservatives) need to be something that counts … for the province of B.C.”
Chloe Ellis, one of the noon hour lunch speakers, spoke with passion as she neatly dovetailed Corbin when she said, “What is our vision for the province? We need to excite … and inspire”… she also got huge cheers and applause when she called the so-called BC Liberal coalition of free enterprise, the “Coalition of chaos” instead.
While no leadership race is officially underway for the BC Conservative Party, two individuals stepped forward at the dinner Saturday night, to let it be known that they are interested, and will be seeking the position once the race is underway.
The first is Matthew Kane who has actually had a quiet campaign going now for several months. Kane is a former military Intelligence officer with the Canadian Armed Forces and served more than 10 years abroad mostly in the Middle East.
After leaving the armed forces he continued his education, receiving his Masters of Cognitive Psychology, after which he created the Kane Group, a successful management consultant company ran Vancouver. Currently, he is also in final stages of achieving a Doctorate in Cognitive Psychology.
The biggest candidate for the BC Conservative Party in the 2017 provincial election was Leah McCulloch. As many know, Leah ran in the Courtenay-Comox riding, garnering 2,061 votes — votes some said she took from the BC Liberals — denying them that seat.
She disagreed, however, stating, “I ran because I wanted to hold the Liberals accountable and that’s exactly what’s happened. They will have to look at themselves, how they have governed and how they have treated people. And that’s a good thing.”
She spoke with passion at the dinner Saturday night, the same kind of passion she must have put into the May election as well. I say this because not long after posting on Twitter that she would be seeking leadership of the party, an individual (Louise @LouiseinBC) stated, “She is gutsy. I may have very different views on many things, but she has integrity, and my respect.”
That could very well be the thing that will most resonate with British Columbians — many of whom seem tired of elected officials simply saying what they need to say to get elected, but then not following through.
For my first AGM after returning to the fold, it was just what I had hoped for; one without anger, shouting, fractious debates, and disharmony.
As I said last week, “… the BC Liberal Party has betrayed small ‘c’ conservatives across the province. Their last Throne Speech, before getting turfed to the Opposition Benches clearly stated that, they will do anything, and say anything, to stay in power.”
Let this be the first step on the road to the BC Legislature … for the BC Conservative Party … and indeed may they be … something that counts … for the province of B.C.”
In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.