VICTORIA - The presidents of two B.C. Conservative Party constituency associations issued a formal call Tuesday morning for John Cummins to resign as leader.
"Our letter is the result of a groundswell of (constituency association) presidents who did not know each other, but found each other by circumstance and discovered a common theme in the shortcomings of your leadership," read a letter to Cummins written Tuesday by Allison Patton, president of the Surrey-White Rock constituency association, and Ariane Eckardt, president of Burnaby North.
"The division that has occurred within the B.C. Conservatives has occurred under your watch. This division has cost us our only sitting MLA and the possibility of having others who were ready to cross," it continued, not outlining what MLAs may also have been ready to join the party.
"In short, we want you to know we are NOT leaving-but we ask, for the sake of the party, that you do."
The letter, which was provided to the media, follows an ultimatum issued by Cummins Sunday, where he told so-called party dissidents they had "two days to either get in line or resign their membership in the BC Conservative Party.
"I am unwavering in my dedication to the B.C. Conservatives, and fully intend to lead my party into the next general election," he wrote in a letter released to the public.
"Those few but vocal party members who are critical of my leadership and do not support me have until 12:00 noon, Wednesday, to either get on-side or quit our party and join another."
The ultimatum was supported by Al Siebring, newly elected president of the party.
"We are going to contest the 2013 general election under John's leadership," Siebring said in the letter.
"I simply will not allow our party to be distracted by a handful of dissidents who will not abide by the majority's decision, and personally will take all appropriate measures after noon Wednesday to ensure that we are united behind our leader."
Patton and Eckardt plan to hold a press conference at the noon deadline Wednesday to discuss the issue further.
The full letter is as follows:
October 09. 2011
Dear Mr. Cummins, Leader of the B.C. Conservatives and Mr. Siebring, Party President,
The last several months have been stressful for all B.C. Conservatives. More recently, after the AGM, the approach of "unifying" the party by exorcising and excommunicating the "dissident" members has been especially disconcerting for those of us who have found ourselves described as "dissidents" and who appear to have made the enemies list.
There has been no organized effort to remove you. Individual CA's operating on their own began to get the feeling that you were disinterested in their concerns and, in many cases that in fact it was your intent to replace them. This has been reinforced by your minions by email. This feeling was intensified by middlemen reported to speak on your behalf. We never knew if these confusing, contradictory verbal missives were with your blessing or the articulation of confused and uninformed individuals simply making claims to be representing you. We did not know then and we don't know now because there was not then or now a clear chain of command that we have been asking for.
We never got to know you John, but whatever the case, the buck stops with you.
And now there are at least 20 CA presidents who are asking you to resign. We acknowledge your legitimate win at the AGM and given the manner in which it was organized, you could hardly lose. Be that as it may, we too represent our CA's and we too have a legitimate voice in all of this. And while you may argue that we have no right to challenge your legitimacy as head of the party, you have no right to challenge our legitimacy as heads of the CA's and call us "dissidents" and then ask us to leave the party. WE ARE THE PARTY.
Your way of unifying the party by first deciding who the "dissidents" were, and then finding reasons to expel them is beyond the pale. Is this truly the best you can do?
Our letter is the result of a groundswell of CA presidents who did not know each other, but found each other by circumstance and discovered a common theme in the shortcomings of your leadership.
The division that has occurred within the B.C. Conservatives has occurred under your watch. This division has cost us our only sitting MLA and the possibility of having others who were ready to cross. These missed opportunities cannot be undone. However, with a new leader, we can start to win back the support of British Columbians who are tired of the arrogance of the BC Liberals and recognize that the B.C. NDP will be disastrous for our economy.
In short, we want you to know we are NOT leaving-but we ask, for the sake of the party, that you do.
Allison Patton, CA President Surrey-White Rock and Ariane Eckardt, CA President Burnaby North
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