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Jesse Donovan

The rise of John Cummins and the BC Conservatives

For the last twenty years, Canadians have looked at the Provincial politics of British Columbia in wonder. British Columbia has reliably voted for the Conservative Party of Canada since its inception. Before that, B.C. has supported the Canadian Alliance and the Reform Party. Having voted for conservative parties federally since 1993, it is safe to say that British Columbia is a conservative Province. Why then, have only 11 conservatives served in the Provincial Legislature since 1991?To answer this question we must examine the Social Credit Party’s history in British Columbia. This Party was a free enterprise party that attempted on numerous occasions to limit the out of control welfare spending in B.C. and tried tried to limit the influence of powerful unions. The Social Credit Party was in government for over thirty years between 1952 and 1991.The Socreds ran into trouble in 1991 when their leader, Bill Vander Zalm was caught up in a conflict of interest scandal which forced him to resign. Rita Johnston was chosen as Leader of the Party. Her close ties to Vander Zalm and the damaged reputation of the Party caused them to lose the election and become relegated to third party status. To the horror of many British Columbians, the New Democratic Party won a majority.Following the collapse of the Social Credit Party and the unprecedented NDP majority, fiscally responsible British Columbians flocked to the centrist BC Liberal Party. Many saw this as the only option to prevent successive NDP victories.The BC Liberals did, at first, represent a reasonable choice for conservative voters. Gordon Campbell, in his early days as Premier and Leader of the BC Liberals cut income and corporate taxes. Campbell also promoted fiscal austerity, the reduction of government waste, and the gradual elimination of the entitlement society created under the NDP.This… Read More