B.C. Liberals cancel 6,000 memberships
About 6,000 would-be B.C. Liberal members have been stricken from the party's membership rolls and will not be casting ballots in Saturday's leadership vote.
Party officials say their verification process has turned up thousands of purported new members who were deemed ineligible.
B.C. Liberal leader's vote on CBC
The BC Liberal Party will choose a new leader — and the province's new premier — on Saturday. Tune in to CBC Radio One and on television to the CBC News Network or CHEK TV from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT for complete coverage of the leadership vote from the convention floor. You can also go online to catch the action live and be a part of the political conversation, here on cbc.ca/bc
The party will accept only members who signed up willingly, paid their fees and are not members of any other provincial party, said Liberal communications director Lilian Kim.
"If anything looks a little bit offhand or anything that doesn't look right or fit into our policies in terms of membership … those are taken seriously and we look into them and review them and act accordingly," Kim said Wednesday.
Kim said there was no official count yet of the number of rejected memberships, but some insiders acknowledged it was about 6,000.
A total of about 10,000 memberships were challenged during a meeting of campaign organizers Tuesday night.
The party will release the official tally of members in good standing before Saturday's vote, Kim said.
Membership could triple
She said she's confident it will be as high as 90,000.
The party had about 30,000 members before the leadership race began.
Candidates' campaigns rushed to sign up members between the beginning of January and a Feb. 4 deadline.
In the process, a volunteer's cat was signed up as a member by Christy Clark's campaign and players on a junior hockey team were unknowingly signed up by Kevin Falcon's campaign.
Candidates try to sign up as many members as possible in the hope of getting their votes.
However, a B.C. Liberal convention Feb. 12 opted for a weighted system of voting, giving sparsely populated rural ridings the same clout in the leadership vote as urban ridings. The change from a one-member, one-vote system cancelled out much of the advantage of signing up thousands of new members.
Memberships cost $10 and are good for four years.
MLAs George Abbott and Mike de Jong are also candidates in Saturday's leadership vote.
With files from the CBC's Jeff Davies