Oct 26, 2012 / 10:47 pm
British Columbia's Liberals are barely able to contain their glee at what they are calling the implosion of the upstart BC Conservative Party, but some Tories aren't prepared to hand over the free-enterprise mantle to Premier Christy Clark's Liberals and they're saying: "Not so fast."
At the Liberal Party convention Friday, the Liberals were treated to a confession-like speech by former Conservative John Martin, who quit the Conservatives and joined the Liberals after losing last April's Chilliwack-Hope byelection to the New Democrats.
Martin told the Liberals he learned the hard lesson last spring in Chilliwack-Hope that splitting the free enterprise vote between the Liberals and the Conservatives results in wins for the New Democrats.
Federal Conservative stalwarts Stockwell Day and Gerry St. Germain told the delegates free enterprise British Columbians must unite under Clark to keep the New Democrats from office.
"The socialist hordes, my friends, are at the gates," said St. Germain, a retired senator. "We've got to keep these socialists outside the gates and show them where they belong because every time they enter into the gates they take us to have-not status."
Martin said the results of the Chilliwack-Hope byelection, where he polled 25 per cent, but placed third, cost capable Liberal candidate Laurie Throness the victory and handed Chilliwack, a deeply Conservative community, to the New Democrats.
"Two important lessons came out of that byelection," said Martin.
"The first is that when the non-NDP vote is pursued by more than one party, the NDP wins."
He said the byelection also revealed that British Columbians support the B.C. Liberals as the province's political free enterprise voice.
But rebel B.C. Conservative Ian Toothill said he hasn't heard enough from the Liberals to convince him the Conservatives are a dying option.
Toothill said he's noticed the Liberals reaching out to Conservatives in recent weeks, but their past record has been one of indifference to Conservatives.
"They've got to convince me that they're all of a sudden building a better mouse trap over here," said the Vancouver-Point Grey constituency association president. "They're here to listen today, but some of the people I've been trying to talk to haven't been listening."
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