John van Dongen

UPDATE: Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen resigns from Conservatives

The local MLA will sit as an independent in the BC legislature.

  • Sep. 22, 2012 4:00 p.m.

by Neil Corbett and Kevin Mills

Abbotsford News

Citing a lack of confidence in party leader John Cummins, Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen has stepped down from the Conservative party and will now sit as an independent in the legislature.

He made the announcement right after a vote on whether John Cummins should remain as leader of the BC Conservatives, at the party AGM in Langley on Saturday. Approximately 70 per cent of Conservative members voted against holding a leadership review.

Van Dongen crossed the floor from the B.C. Liberal Party to the Conservatives last spring, citing problems with Premier Chrisy Clark’s leadership.

On Saturday evening Van Dongen told The News he wants to be part of a free enterprise party that is an alternative to the NDP, and “the bottom line is, I simply don’t believe John Cummins is the right person to lead that coalition – to lead that party.”

He said Cummins has had the best opportunity in a decade to capitalize on the failures of the Liberal Party, and has not shown that he will be able to do so. He pointed to the Chilliwack-Hope byelection, where he said the Conservatives were convinced they would win. After their candidate finished third, van Dongen said there was no “energy or drive” from the leadership to analyze the byelection failure.

What’s more, he said polls results for the past six months or longer show that British Columbians will reject both Christy Clark and John Cummins.

Van Dongen said Cummins knew of his concerns, and that a significant portion of the party was questioning his leadership, but he did not acknowledge them, and made no effort to address their concerns.

“It was: ‘My way or the highway.’ So I chose the highway.”

As things stand, van Dongen would ran as an independent in the next election, but said he is willing work with anyone who has an interest in “developing a credible free enterprise option.”

Just Posted

Abbotsford couple to release video for song about domestic abuse

Saint Soldier and Rozsa held Kickstarter campaign for Dark Shades

Four new exhibitions at The Reach focus on the human body

Opening reception takes place Jan. 24 at Abbotsford gallery

Abbotsford parent OK with manure facility near school getting permit

Shannon Gaudette says permitting the currently illegal operation would mean tight regulations

Filmmakers tackle topic of youth and the social media epidemic

Mother and daughter from Abbotsford and Mission team up to create Selfless documentary

Mount Vernon defeats Burnaby South in Snowball final

Knights down Rebels 95-77 to earn 2019 championship, Abbotsford’s Mouat Hawks finish third

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

Closing submissions in case of Lisa Batstone underway

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Most Read