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 boy among winners of national recipe contest

Isaac, 10, heads to Ottawa to participate in Kid Food Nation Gala

Abbotsford Youth Orchestra to perform Carmen

Group presents arrangement of Bizet’s opera for strings and percussion

‘I’m elated’: Braun wins; incumbents returned en masse; Banman back

Henry Braun becomes first incumbent mayor of Abbotsford to win re-election since 1999

VOTING DAY: Abbotsford votes no-change school board, deals blow to anti-SOGI

All incumbents running and one former trustee voted in, few anti-SOGI candidates on board

SLIDESHOW: Election night in Abbotsford

Candidates gather at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium to watch the results

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

Fraser Valley man dead after head on crash in Okanagan

Accident occurred at about 7:35 a.m.

B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Juanita Crook, a Kelowna oncologist, has seen 100 per cent success using brachytherapy to treat breast cancer in some patients.

Newly-elected Lower Mainland mayor won’t drink his city’s tap water

White Rock’s Darryl Walker is concerned about its quality

Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as mayor of Vancouver: expert

The former NDP MP, who ran as an Independent, will lead 10 councillors divided across four parties

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Most Read