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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Democracy is like breathing; you have to do it EVERY second!! If you don't, it withers."



I've had an interesting friendship over the past 20 years with former Liberal MLA, and Cabinet Minister, Kevin Krueger.  It goes back to 1995 when both of us were preparing, and being nominated, to run in the Kamloops North Thompson riding, in the 1996 Provincial election.  Kevin for the BC Liberal Party, and me for the Reform Party of British Columbia.  Kevin won  :)

I like to believe that despite political differences any of us have with others, there is generally more that unites us, rather than separates us.

That has held true with my relationship with Kevin.  Despite that, we have had some major disagreement where we did not have common ground; on those we have strongly debated back and forth our own positions.  Still, friendship prevailed.

Regarding common ground, something I saw posted by a former political ally in the BC Conservative Party (Ben Besler now a BC Liberal), caught my eye the other day.  It was a quote from Kevin Krueger ... one I had never seen or heard before:

"...The RIGHT TIME to be involved, up to our NECKS, Is WAY before elections!



CHOOSE a Party, or BUILD ONE!!



CONTRIBUTE ALL THE WAY, in shaping its policies, and platform.



If some Yahoo takes it over, SHATTER IT, and build a new one.



Democracy is like breathing; you have to do it EVERY second!!



If you don't, it withers. And people DIE."



~~~ Kevin Krueger 

I note this because Kevin, like most in the BC Liberal Party, will loudly and vehemently argue there is NO ROOM for a third party in BC elections (unless of course it's on the left), because it will split the vote and elect an NDP government.

I, however, take his words as encouragement.  I have been involved 'up to my neck' in contributing and shaping policies and a platform, as had many others, in the BC Conservative Party.  Sadly however, nearly all who contributed in this way have left.

There were many reasons for me, but the final nail in the coffin was the reinstatement of a number of dissidents who had systematically set about to destroy the Party prior to the last provincial election.

For those who did not see an early posting from me, this is part of a previous blog post I did, as well as a portion of an email I sent to friends: 

I remained a staunch supporter of the BC Conservatives up until the party decided to apologize to Dr Paton, and several others, who set about to do everything they could to destroy the party.  I still have the emails from the board discussions that went on, and the comments of those who have now made a complete and total reversal on where they stood.  

Paton and her crew systematically set about to destroy any chance we had to elect MLAs, making the work of hundreds of individuals all for naught.  With that one stroke of a pen to apologize to them, and accept them back in the party, I realized that the grassroots democracy I had been led to believe was the bedrock of the BC Conservatives, had been wiped away. 

Let me conclude by saying the thought of only have the Liberals and NDP as options for British Columbians to vote for concerns me ... and seeing what shattered remains are left of the BC Conservatives feels much the same. 

BC DOES need an alternative, what that should / can be I am not sure.  I do however feel strongly that the BC Conservative Party name is tarnished now following the fiasco of the dissidents, and will be for the foreseeable future.

So ... where do we go from here?

I am re-posting this now, in light of that quote from Kevin that I used at the beginning of this blog post.  Where do we go?  Some friends, acquaintances, and fellow political warriors offered these comments: 


... there is nothing left but crumbs on a plate. The BCCP membership is gone, this will never come back. The only hope and opportunity the citizens of BC have now is if another group starts a party affiliated with the federal Conservatives. Until that occurs there will not  be a true third option in BC ...

... I believe that we should have a strong Conservative Party in the Province but it looks like the interest is just not there. I am like many others I suspect, and have sort of backed away ...  

... very strong leadership is needed and that does not seem to be present nor do I see any prospects. I suspect the Liberals would have to be embroiled in some major disaster to light a fire

 ... somebody needs to start working on an answer and soon.  For me, the BCCP franchise is permanently damaged.  I think it is with the media as well.  The Social Credit party still exists but is all but dormant.  Perhaps some life could be injected there.  I like the idea of a coalition of independent candidates who agree to some basic guidelines around behavior and to represent their individual constituencies.  The CA concept was a mistake at such an early stage of the party.  It was extremely difficult to comply with Elections BC regulations with so many basically unknown people ...

... very good question. I have no idea. 2017 may be the first time I don't vote ...

... I realize that the Conservative party is in a upward battle, however changing course or creating a new party would be a larger struggle. If there was a viable big C esque option, I might consider listening ...

... I still believe that the BC Conservative Party offers the best opportunity to voters as another option, but I also have concerns regarding the current state of the party.  I am disappointed that the party did not take a public stand on the recent Lower Mainland transit referendum, and doesn't appear to be organizing for two upcoming by-elections in Metro Vancouver.  Until the party chooses to move forward again, I will continue to focus my political efforts on federal politics.  However, I will still remain a BC Conservative Party member ...

... I went to the SGM in Victoria in June but was very disappointed at what I heard.  I agree that there has to be an alternative to the Liberals and the NDP.  I am still hoping (?) that the alternative could be the BCCP but not with the current leadership ...

... while I expect the BC Liberals will stand a good chance for re-election in 2017, there are scenarios where I could easily see the Greens make it into official opposition.  Pay attention to the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant by-election.  If the Greens can get more than 25% of the vote there, it spells trouble for the NDP.  We blew it in 2012 and won't be getting another chance for awhile.  Pendulum has gone entirely in the wrong direction.  The party itself is just simply wrong - wrong leader, wrong board, likely wrong candidates.  So provincially I'm steering entirely clear

 ... I have been pondering over this a lot as of late ... the party is such a mess that it is an embarrassment to all of us. Then we would have to try and turn things around before the next election. I feel that the best thing to do is either spark interest in the Social Credit and maybe change the name or join the Liberals and work from the inside to bring change ...

... I agree BC needs better government than it is now getting. Beyond this I have no answer either. Thanks for raising the issue though ...

...I like you have lost all hope that the BCCP will be a viable option in the next election. To answer your question I believe that we must start all over again.  Methodology would be to gather a group of like minded people to organize and support an independent candidate in one riding. 


We should be fundraising throughout the valley to fund that one candidate.Once we get an independent elected, then we can start to build a base in other ridings with a goal of 2021 ...

... somebody needs to start working on an answer and soon.  For me, the BCCP franchise is permanently damaged.  I think it is with the media as well.  The Social Credit party still exists but is all but dormant.  Perhaps some life could be injected there.  I like the idea of a coalition of independent candidates who agree to some basic guidelines around behavior and to represent their individual constituencies.  The CA concept was a mistake at such an early stage of the party.  It was extremely difficult to comply with Elections BC regulations with so many basically unknown people ...  

... I certainly agree that we need a Conservative alternative to the Liberals. I don’t want to vote for them. But it will not be with the present BC Conservatives...  

... I am sensitive to the fact, that you do not wish to diminish the Party but to voice a protest against a decision to re-instate the “dissidents”.  Believe me when I tell you that the three dissidents were simply front people for a bigger game and I am not even sure they know what happened when the door slammed shut.  I actually pity them.  Anyway I appreciate your candour regarding the issue.  Going forward my thoughts are very muddled.  The one thing I know for sure - the BCCP is not salvageable ... the rot will remain.  So I say leave the BCCP to the NDP and  Liberals and move on.  One person has mentioned supporting one candidate in a riding.  It will be hard  to find “the candidate” because we need an exceptional person to support. Financing will be an issue but doable. There are purses that will open up for the right individual.  I honestly do not know who would fit the bill and we would need to link it to a solid Conservative riding.  Then we can establish a Party around the new “MLA” ...  

... I don’t see a lot of things happening here. Are people thinking we should be trying to revive the party, start a new one, or test the waters on some of the ones that are out there? There is no way  I could ever vote NDP or Liberal ...    

There you go.  It seems from these responses the vast majority feel the BC Conservative brand is too tarnished at this point to be viable, at least in the near future.  And as was pointed out, there is only two years until the next provincial election in 2017.



Now, let me remind you of that quote from Kevin at the beginning of this commentary:

"...The RIGHT TIME to be involved, up to our NECKS, Is WAY before elections!



CHOOSE a Party, or BUILD ONE!!



CONTRIBUTE ALL THE WAY, in shaping its policies, and platform.



If some Yahoo takes it over, SHATTER IT, and build a new one.



Democracy is like breathing; you have to do it EVERY second!!



If you don't, it withers. And people DIE." 

Is there the will to have a political party in BC that will fight for the 'hearts' of British Columbians, and not resort to the fear tactic of the past (used by Social Credit, the NDP, or the Liberals), "You have to vote for US, or you'll get THEM"?



Does this spur any further comments or ideas from you?

I'm Alan Forseth in Kamloops ... and I'd love to hear from you.

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