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bc conservatives say no official talks with bc united on merger running own candidates

BC Conservatives Say No Official Talks With BC United on Merger, Running Own Candidates

The up-and-coming BC Conservatives say they’re not holding official merger talks with the third-place Opposition BC United Party, as questions rose recently about a possible coalition after recent remarks by United’s leader. The Conservative Party of BC has been riding a wave in the polls and insists it will be running its own candidates in this fall’s provincial election. “The Conservative Party of BC is committed to running 93 candidates for the upcoming election,” the party’s executive director Angelo Isidorou said in an email statement. According to Mr. Isidorous, the Conservatives attempted to open talks with BC United in December 2023, but Leader Kevin Falcon was not receptive. “Clearly, things have now changed,“ Mr. Isidorous said. ”As always, our door is open to all who want to buy a membership and join our Conservative Party of BC.” Speculation about a possible BC United and Conservative marriage arose when Mr. Falcon told reporters on May 14 that “emissaries from both parties are having discussions to see if we can find common ground, recognizing that the real enemy is the NDP government.” “Four more years of that government, I think will be, frankly, economically devastating for the province of British Columbia,” Mr. Falcon said. “And that’s why we have to put aside our own egos, our own party issues, everything else, and just figure out whether there’s common ground.” The Conservative Party of BC told The Epoch Times there are no official talks going on. “There have been various individuals from the business community who have reached out to meet with BC United on our behalf,” said Mr. Isidorous, but no merger scenario has been considered. The Epoch Times reached out to the BC United Party but did not hear back by publication time. “Just based on what each leader is saying, the likelihood of a coalition is low,” he told The Epoch Times in a phone interview. Both parties have already nominated more than half their candidates, he said, “so that would mean eliminating certain candidates who’ve already been chosen by the party.” What the two political rivals might be considering, however, is an agreement like the confidence-and-supply agreement between the federal NDP and Liberals, Mr. Jeram said. “What they’re thinking about most likely is having an agreement in advance in case there’s a minority situation in which they could form government,” he said. “I think that scenario allows them not to choose a leader now, and for both of them to remain in charge of their caucus and make the agreement more flexible rather than firm.” He said based on recent comments neither leader is willing to consider a path that could result in their elimination as a party leader. “My suspicion is behind the scenes that Falcon is probably a little reluctant, because in this current situation he would probably lose the leadership,” Mr. Jeram said. That also means Mr. Falcon would be held responsible for the disappearance of the BC United Party into the provincial Conservatives. At the time, Mr. Falcon said Mr. Rustad did not represent the party’s position on climate change. Mr. Rustad sat as an Independent until February 2023 when he joined the Conservatives, becoming party leader the following month. Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman left BC United to join Mr. Rustad in September 2023, gaining official party status for the Conservatives. B.C.’s provincial election is scheduled for Oct. 19.

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