Longtime Abbotsford MP Randy White says the defection of Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen from the Liberal government to become the first sitting Conservative Party member is only the first of more to come.
“Not only do I think it may happen, I’m telling you it’s going to happen,” said the former Reform Party and federal Conservative. “It is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the beginning of the flow.”
White has been working with his friend Conservative Party leader John Cummins on rebuilding the Conservative brand in B.C., and says he speaks to disaffected Liberal MLAs directly. Since van Dongen’s announcement on Monday afternoon, his phone has hardly left his ear.
He said by the time the writ is dropped for a 2013 election, the Conservatives will have official party status in the legislature – granted to parties with four MLAs.
He said the coalition of conservatives that Premier Christy Clark says she is trying to hold together has already broken down.
“Conservatives are not crossing the floor (to the NDP), they’re going to their party,” said White. “It’s not a breach of faith at all.”
He took umbrage at Clark saying van Dongen’s move makes it easier for NDP Leader Adrian Dix to become premier.
“Christy, here’s the facts – you have put the NDP in government,” he said. “Liberals are going to be excommunicated. They are down and out. They are not coming back.”
He said the government admits it mishandled the HST, which cost Gordon Campbell the premiership, but said people are just as angry about the carbon tax, high ferry fees, rising ICBC rates and increasing BC Hydro rates.
He says when Abbotsford voters go to the polls, they would rather put a check beside a Conservative name than a Liberal one – both federally and provincially.
“Abbotsford will elect Conservatives – conservatives vote Conservative,” he predicted. “What’s going to be left of the Liberals, is the liberals.”
White said there is no chance he will be running for a seat. He has new priorities: He and his wife Marty has recently been to Vienna, Prague and hiking along the Rhine River. Curling season is done, and he’s transitioning into slow pitch. His fifth wheel is coming out of storage.
“Thirteen years in the House of Commons was enough for this boy.”
Premier Christy Clark said she isn’t expecting any more resignations from the B.C. Liberal caucus.
Clark met with reporters Tuesday to take questions, including those about van Dongen’s accusations about the BC Rail sale. Clark again rejected calls for an inquiry into the case, saying she has answered every question about her own involvement in the original sale.
“The only thing I would say about John (van Dongen) is, he’s making it easier for Adrian Dix to become premier,” Clark said.