With the May 14 general election less than five months away, the B.C. Conservative Party has yet to announce a single candidate for any of Vancouver’s 11 electoral districts.
Kristy Fredericks, the party's communications director, says it hopes to run candidates in a total of 84 provincial ridings — every riding except for Delta South, where incumbent MLA Vicki Huntingdon is running as an independent. She said the party is going through the red tape for potential office-seekers but admitted it is looking for an unspecified number of contenders in Vancouver.
“There are still a few vacancies but we are actively recruiting,” said Fredericks. “It’s just part of the process. As people come through the system, there is a little bit of a backlog right now with so many candidates coming through at once. It’s just a matter of our committee, who are all volunteers, getting through all of the paper. We have a 42-page application and they have to go through that for each one.”
The party has a total of 10 candidates confirmed throughout the province —five in the Interior, three on Vancouver Island and one in Northern B.C. along with party leader John Cummins’ home riding in Langley. The party website hadn’t been updated at the Courier’s press deadline and listed three confirmed candidates.
The B.C. Conservatives entered a total of 24 in the last election. The closest it came to winning a riding was in Boundary-Similkameen, where Joe Cardoso came in third with 20 per cent of the vote. The century-old party briefly had a seat in the current legislature after Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen quit the Liberal Party and crossed the floor to join them last March, but six months later he resigned his party membership in protest over Cummins’ leadership and sits as an independent.
Fredericks said applications have been filed in more than 40 ridings that are being looked at by the candidate review committee. Nomination bids will take place in ridings where more than one person hopes to represent the party.
“Quite often if there is more than one, there will be a ballot,” Fredericks said. “In the Interior, we had a couple of three-way battles. Basically once they get approved, they have to send out a notice to all the members in their riding of when the nomination meeting will happen. Even if there is only one candidate, they still have to hold that meeting and essentially be acclaimed by the members in their ridings. In the next month and a half you’ll see a lot more nomination meetings happening.”