John Cummins

John Cummins

Conservative vote already split, says former BC Liberal MLA

Former BC Liberal MLA John van Dongen says conservative vote is already split and BC Conservative Party best positioned to deny NDP victory

The conservative vote is already split, MLA John van Dongen told byelection volunteers at the opening of the BC Conservative campaign office Saturday in Chilliwack.

“A lot of the free-enterprise vote has already left the BC Liberal party,” he said. “The horse is out of the barn, if you want to put it in agricultural terms.”

The BC Liberals have been warning voters that a ballot cast for the BC Conservatives will split the vote and lead to an NDP victory in the byelection, and in next year’s provincial election.

But van Dongen suggested small-c conservatives voters need not fear splitting the vote because the BC Conservative Party is about to replace the BC Liberals as the free-enterprise coalition in B.C.

“The polls show it, but more importantly, the people are saying that,” van Dongen said, as he exhorted volunteers to work hard for the party’s candidate in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection.

“There’s a hunger for change,” he said. “Our job is to give them a credible option to vote for, and I believe John Martin is the guy in Chilliwack-Hope.”

Last week, van Dongen rocked the B.C. political world when he quit the BC Liberal party after 16 years and joined the BC Conservative party.

However, he did not resign his seat as the MLA for Abbotsford South, which would have triggered a byelection there.

It’s been an issue van Dongen’s critics pounced on, especially since BC Conservative Leader John Cummins has also said byelections should be held when a politician crosses the floor to join another political party.

But van Dongen said what most people outside his riding don’t know is that the BC Liberal party was working to take away his nomination as the riding’s candidate in the next provincial election.

“Within my own party, there was a movement to try and unseat me, to take away my nomination,” van Dongen said. “That has generated a lot of discussion in my riding that hasn’t existed in other ridings.”

And he said the residents of Abbotsford South “have said very clearly they want me on the job” no matter to which party he belongs.

“I take the view that I got elected to represent the constituency of Abbotsford South,” van Dongen said. “I’m not a different person today, and I don’t take different policy positions today than when I was elected.”

Cummins said van Dongen’s reputation and his decision to join the BC Conservatives “solidifies” the growing support for the party among B.C. voters.

“We have certainly risen in the polls, but having John come over solidifies that support,” he said. “People realize just how credible we are, we are a real option.”

Martin told his supporters at the campaign office opening that “we’re on the verge of dramatic change in this province.”

“There is a government in free-fall that has lost its way, that has lost its purpose, and, mercifully, there’s somebody else to come and pick up the slack and make sure the NDP doesn’t return us to an era of destruction like they did in the 1990s,” he said.

“The BC Conservatives are going to have a profound impact in 2013, and it’s going to start right here in Chilliwack-Hope,” he said. “We’re going to win this riding.”

Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read