British Columbia

Cummins named leader of B.C. Conservatives

Former MP John Cummins has been named leader of the B.C. Conservative Party.

Former MP John Cummins has been named leader of the B.C. Conservative Party.

Cummins, who was the only candidate to run for the leadership of the B.C. Conservatives, was elected by delegates at a convention in Surrey on Saturday.

In a wide-ranging speech to a room of 300 supporters following the announcement, Cummins blasted the provincial Liberals and New Democrats.

He also made his first policy announcement — a promise to scrap the carbon tax.

"Gas will be cheaper," he said.

"It will cost less to drive your kids to school. That school will have more resources because they won't be paying the carbon tax. It will cost less to buy food and for the millions of British  Columbians who live outside of the urban areas where public transit isn't an option, who disproportionately pay this tax, they will find relief."

Cummins said the tax — implemented by the Gordon Campbell government in a plan to fight climate change — adds more to the cost of everything, including gas, food and clothing.

He told the crowd his leadership brings a real choice for British Columbians, instead of the revolving door of Liberal and New Democrat governments.

While the party hasn't been a factor in provincial politics since 1933, organizers hope Cummins' leadership will draw more attention from voters.

Cummins came under fire earlier this month when he was quoted as saying being gay was a choice, and the human rights code shouldn't specifically protect sexual orientation.

He later issued a statement saying his comments were misinterpreted.

With files from The Canadian Press