Markus Delves is seeking the BC Liberal nomination in the Abbotsford South riding.

AbbotsfordFirst pres leaves to seek BC Liberal nod

Markus Delves bidding for nomination to run in Darryl Plecas’s Abbotsford South riding

The president of the AbbotsfordFirst electoral organization has stepped down to seek the BC Liberal nomination in Darryl Plecas’s home riding.

Markus Delves has announced that he will seek the party’s nod to run as the BC Liberal candidate in Abbotsford South when voters head to the polls next. Plecas was booted from the party after he accepted an offer by the NDP to become Speaker of the legislature. He now sits as an independent.

Delves had been president of AbbotsfordFirst since October 2017, but hasn’t held office himself. His term as president expired last week, and he also resigned from its board. Marion Keys has taken over as president of AbbotsfordFirst.

Delves is the director of finance for Quantum Properties, a prominent local developer owned and run by his mother, Diane Delves. Quantum and Diane Delves are long-time BC Liberal backers, having donated more than $30,000 to the BC Liberals and the party’s candidates over the past decade, according to online contribution records.

Carol Fielding, the president of the local BC Liberal riding association, said Delves has been the first to publicly declare his intentions but that others are also mulling a bid.

Fielding said there is no timeline yet for when a candidate will be selected.

Although there has been occasional speculation that the NDP/Green coalition could fracture, resulting in a snap election, Fielding wrote in an email that “the general consensus of the party is that we have time yet as the next election is not until 2021. At the moment there are no signals that there will be an early election call & if so certainly not in the same year as a federal election.”

Plecas has said he does not intend to run again if reforms are made before the next election to improve the legislature working environment. If those reforms don’t happen, he told The News that he will seek re-election.

RELATED: Plecas won’t run in next election if legislature oversight reforms pass

Despite voters in the Abbotsford South riding consistently electing BC Liberals over the past two decades, the riding has been a constant thorn in the side of the party.

A history of rebellion

2012: Longtime Abbotsford South MLA and BC Liberal cabinet minister John van Dongen leaves the BC Liberals for the BC Conservatives. He is upset about the handling of the BC Rail scandal and is an opponent of Christy Clark. He later leaves the Conservatives to sit as an independent.

RELATED: John van Dongen resigns from BC Liberal Party

Abbotsford Coun. Moe Gill says he is encouraged to seek the party’s nomination. But in November, the BC Liberals announce Darryl Plecas will be their candidate in the upcoming election. Plecas will later say he ran in order to try to get a new home for the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre, on whose board he sat.

Gill is mad, accuses the BC Liberals of bullying him. The party, meanwhile, suggests Gill stacked the riding’s annual general meeting.

RELATED: Gill: Liberals were ‘bullying me’

2013: Plecas unseats van Dongen while defending Christy Clark from the incumbent MLA’s attacks. Gill, meanwhile, runs as an independent in the Abbotsford West riding and fails to win office.

2017: Plecas wins re-election, but the BC Liberals lose power to an NDP/Green coalition. On election day, Plecas suggests his party has been too arrogant. In the following weeks, he pushes for the resignation of Clark, suggesting that either she had to leave, or he would.

Clark eventually resigns, but Plecas remains unhappy with the direction of his party. In the fall, as the legislature is about to sit, the NDP asks Plecas to be Speaker. He takes the job – after having previously refused it – infuriating his erstwhile BC Liberal colleagues because doing so gave the NDP more breathing room and ensured relative stability for years to come.

2018: As Speaker, Plecas presides over the ouster of the top two non-elected officials in the legislature under mysterious circumstances.

2019: Plecas issues a bombshell report into spending at the legislature and the impact on staff. His report also suggests a lack of accountability during the reign of previous BC Liberal speakers.


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

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