B.C. Conservative leader loses in Langley
Former MP John Cummins unable to lead party from the fringes
B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins has been defeated in Langley, as Liberal incumbent Mary Polak looks set to be re-elected.
Cummins garnered only 12 per cent of the vote, trailing far behind Polak, who was re-elected with a overwhelming 52 per cent.
The Conservative Party of British Columbia had been hoping the 2013 election would show it is more than just a fringe party, after capturing just over two per cent of the vote in 2009.
The Tories have emerged from relative obscurity thanks to Cummins, a former MP who left federal politics in 2011 to take the party’s helm.
However, the Conservatives have never been elected in British Columbia and remain a fringe party, often trailing the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Greens.
The party briefly held a seat in the provincial legislature, when former B.C. Liberal John van Dongen crossed the floor to the Conservatives in March 2012.
But the victory was short-lived: van Dongen resigned from the party to become an Independent a few months later, citing problems with Cummins’s leadership style.
In recent months, the B.C. Conservatives have seen popular support collapse. After a high of 23 per cent support in March 2012, the party has dropped to single digits, though support is higher in the province’s southern Interior.
B.C.'s modern day Conservative party traces its roots to 1903 when the provincial arm of the federal Conservative party was first organized in B.C.
Until the 1950s, the Conservatives dominated B.C. politics, but eventually lost support to the Liberals, and then the Social Credit party.
Ideologically, the party favours a limited role for government and emphasizes personal freedom and responsibility for citizens.