The B.C Conservatives have to broaden their base ahead of the 2013 provincial election, says a party activist whose leaked e-mails have questioned the leadership of John Cummins.
To that end, Ben Besler says a slate of candidates will be trying to seize control of the party’s executive when B.C. Conservatives gather in Langley this weekend for their annual general meeting.
The results of a leadership vote are to be released at the meeting on Saturday. Mr. Cummins, a former Tory MP, was elected leader in 2011 by 97 per cent.
Mr. Besler, currently a party vice-president, said Tuesday the group, organized under the Friends of the B.C. Conservative Party banner could move the party forward.
“We need to broaden our base. We need to attract new members,” he said in an interview. “The only way to do that is to promote integrity and accountability and the only way to do that is to make sure there is a good channel of communication that flows from the board to the regions.”
Mr. Besler is seeking the presidency of the party. Others are running for the vice-presidency, secretary’s post and for four director at large positions.
He declined to criticize the current executive, simply saying that any organization can do better in these areas.
“The world has changed drastically over the last 10 years. You can’t do old-school politics when this province is looking for people who understand what they want from government and who can communicate to them in terms they can understand,” he said.
“There is an aspect to that that we can look at. The world has changed, and we need to do things differently.”
Leaked e-mails from Mr. Besler have called for a review of Mr. Cummins’ leadership. However, Mr. Besler called that correspondence an “internal matter” and declined further comment.
Mr. Besler said he expected the slate could work if Mr. Cummins continues as leader because the political and administrative side of the organization are separate.
The B.C. Conservatives are running at about 20 per cent in recent polls and are thought to be splitting the centre-right vote in the province.
The governing B.C. Liberals have suggested the party’s success could allow the B.C. New Democrats to win power in the election next May.