Diane Janzen is disappointed there will be no nomination meeting in Chilliack for a BC Liberal candidate to be chosen by Chilliwack riding members, but on Sept. 24, 2020 she announced she will run for the BC Conservatives. (Facebook)

Chilliwack BC Liberal candidate hopeful jumps to the BC Conservatives

Days after Janzen said she had ‘rug yanked’ from under her by BC Liberals she finds a new home

Just days after Diane Janzen said she had the “rug yanked” from under her by the BC Liberals, the former Chilliwack city councillor landed on her feet with the BC Conservatives.

“We are proud to announce Diane Janzen to our team as your candidate for the riding of Chilliwack, British Columbia.”

That according to a Conservative Party of BC Facebook post from just after 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, a post that Janzen shared on her Facebook page as well.

“Diane is extremely excited to represent the riding of Chilliwack and looks forward to meeting with you over the next month.”

Janzen announced in November 2019 that she would vie for the nomination for the BC Liberal seat for the riding of Chilliwack currently occupied by incumbent John Martin.

She said she spent the year, up until a few days ago, garnering new BC Liberal members to support her under the promise by the party of an open nomination meeting. But party officials notified Janzen that there would be no Chilliwack nomination meeting due to the pandemic.

“Due to John Horgan’s power grab, we have had to select candidates to run in the 87 ridings throughout British Columbia,” according to BC Liberal spokesperson Shane Mills.

Janzen was not impressed.

“I am deeply disappointed in the BC Liberal Party,” Janzen said. “They reneged on their promise of open democracy and denied the membership their right to choose a candidate through an open nomination process.”

• READ MORE: Diane Janzen won’t be running for election under BC Liberal banner

Now, instead of competing against Martin to run for the BC Liberals, Janzen will compete against him in the election. Ironically, Martin himself made his first foray into provincial politics with a run for the BC Conservatives before he switched to the BC Liberals.

“Chilliwack is normally a safe seat for the BC Liberals,” Janzen said, adding that may change given these most recent circumstances.

The BC Conservatives have never won a seat in any election in the province. The BC NDP have not announced candidates for either Chilliwack or Chilliwack-Kent.

As for what is to become of the 160 supporters she says she recruited to buy BC Liberal Party memberships, that’s unclear, but some may follow her to her new party.

As of an hour after the BC Conservative announcement, Janzen’s Facebook page “Diane Janzen Candidate for BC Liberal Party Chilliwack” was still active with 221 followers.

Janzen is a long-time resident who is currently executive director of Chilliwack Community Services where she says she oversees $6 million in operations, 105 staff, 500 volunteers, and provides services to close to 7,000 people a year.

Janzen stepped down as a Chilliwack city councillor in 2011 to run as the federal Liberal Party candidate in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding in that year’s election. She placed third behind the New Democrats in that vote, which saw Mark Strahl take power, but her campaign organization was touted as a model by the party in its rebuilding process.

Janzen then decided in November 2011 to seek the BC Liberal nomination, but she stepped away from pursuing the nomination for a seat under the BC Liberal banner about a month later over concern in the party about her chances, given her run earlier that year for the federal Liberals.

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