Thursday, September 14, 2023

British Columbia Conservatives gain seat in Legislature by way of Banman defection from BC United Party

BC Conservative leader John Rustad has just doubled his caucus, that coming yesterday with the announcement that Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman had left the BC United Party to join Rustad in his quest to make inroads across the province.

In his statement upon making the move to the Conservative Party of BC, Batman noted of the opportunity to speak honestly and openly for his constituents that joining in with Rustad would bring.

"Today, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to join the Conservative Party of British Columbia to keep that promise to my community and my constituents. 

I know first-hand that the Conservative Party of British Columbia is the only party that stands for what's right in the legislature, rather than what's politically convenient or politically correct. 

As a Conservative MLA, I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to speak honestly and openly on behalf of my constituents."

As might be expected, the leader was quite pleased to welcome a sitting MLA to party ranks, noting of what he sees is the future for the party in the months ahead.

The switch to the BC Conservatives puts the party into the ranks of the official status in the Legislature and with that comes additional opportunities to ask questions during Question Period, as well as additional financial assistance towards research and other Legislature work.

The party has been on a significant upwards trajectory in recent months, first with the arrival of Rustad as leader and then with an impressive showing in the Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election of June 24th.

A campaign where BC Conservative candidate Mike Harris finished second, a somewhat alarming result for Kevin Falcon and the newly branded BC United, which came from a name change of its BC Liberal days.

In that contest the  Harris vote total claimed 19.82%, still well behind Ravi Parmar the NDP candidate who claimed the seat previously held by former Premier John Horgan.  

But the result is considered in a warning shot for the BC Liberals that there may be trouble afoot, with the Harris result 11 percent ahead in the vote count of their candidate Elena Lawson.

Such was his success that Harris has already been named as the BC Conservative's candidate when the next provincial election comes up.

The latest projection from political observers at 338 Canada shows that if an election were held today the NDP would still form a government, along with that though is an indication that BC United support is in decline, while the Conservative Party of BC is on the rise.

Something that will be welcomed by the NDP as the centre-right vote starts to splinter.

Still there seems some unrest in the BC United ranks and among their supporters, something that may propel more members of the party to consider their options and whether they fit in more with the message that is being narrated by John Rustad these days.

When John Rustad first took on the leadership of the Conservative Party of BC, there was some speculation that a fellow Northwestern MLA, Skeena's Ellis Ross might be the number two guy to bring a seat for the party.

Ross shares some of the same political philosophy that Rustad has put forward for the party, and weaves some of the same 'common sense' narrative that has made for its focus so it would seem a good fit, 

However, so far, he remains in the BC United Fold, though he may be a regional politician up for the courting beyond provincial politics.

Like they do with Rustad, many of the talking points from Ellis Ross would seem at home with the current Conservative Federal leader Pierre Poilievre. 

And as we observed earlier this month, that might make him a formidable opponent to take on the NDP in the next Federal election.

The Conservative leader is in the Northwest today, hosting an afternoon event in Smithers and then again this evening in Terrace. Some coverage of his travels is available on the Skeena-Bulkley Valley social media stream.

Beyond a look at what kind of turnout he brings out in the region, as well as the message he will be delivering from the twin appearances. There could also be an indication as to how the political winds may be blowing and if Federal gusts, may make for changes in the provincial scene for Skeena.

More notes on the Legislature can be reviewed here.

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