Vancouver Island is a “bastion of strength for B.C. Conservatives,” according to party leader Dan Brooks.
The provincial Conservatives, who hold zero seats in the Legislature, hosted their annual general meeting at Tigh-Na-Mara in Parksville Saturday where approximately 100 Conservative Party cardholders came together from all over British Columbia. Brooks made a speech focussing on two things: Vancouver Island as a potential hotbed for Conservative candidates to win seats in the 2017 election and what the leader sees as “a state of crisis” for the provincial NDP.
“Vancouver Island makes up 24 per cent of our membership,” Brooks said to loud applause. “Vancouver Island is accountable for 53 per cent of our new memberships.”
The B.C. Conservatives say they have roughly 5,000 members.
Brooks commended 2013 Parksville-Qualicum Conservative candidate David Coupland, who did not attend the event, for rallying the “single largest number of actual votes” in the last election. Coupland lost to current B.C. Liberal MLA Michelle Stilwell.
Brooks pointed to this as another example of the party’s growing strength and support on the Island.
Brooks criticized the NDP for the party’s “lackluster” response to the government during this year’s education dispute.
“They (the NDP) don’t know what to say because they don’t know who they represent,” he claimed. “They’re a spent force in B.C.”
Brooks claimed the Conservatives were now “the common sense alternative” to the Liberal government, who he said “have overstayed their welcome in B.C.”
He told The NEWS “Islanders have not been served well by the Liberals because they dictate instead of lead.”
Alternatively, he said the conservatives are “grassroots instead of top-down.”
Asked why he believes the Conservatives haven’t secured a seat in the Legislature, Brooks said “people are voting to keep the NDP out and they thought their only option was the Liberals.”
In the next two-and-a-half years leading up to the 2017 provincial election, Brooks said he will be busy looking for candidates, increasing membership and traveling around the province finding out what British Columbians want to see in government.