As the BC Liberals and the BC NDP search for candidates to replace John Les in Chilliwack, a local BC Conservative executive member is mired in an internal and now public leadership fight.
Ben Besler is the vice-president of the provincial Conservatives and was a candidate in the 2009 provincial election. He received 15 per cent of the vote running against John Les in the Chilliwack riding.
The 29-year-old roofing contractor was also front and centre along with Bill Vander Zalm in the successful Fight HST campaign, and he worked briefly on the unsuccessful campaign to recall Les. He was also involved in John Martin's third-place bid in the Chilliwack-Hope byelection in April.
Besler has recently called for a review of John Cummin's leadership of the party at the Sept. 22 AGM.
"A leadership review can be the vehicle that not only promotes the party, but brings openness and clarity as to this party's objectives," Besler wrote in an email to BC Conservatives.
"To strengthen the party's position in this province and to ensure a more favourable outcome in the General Election, I recommend a YES vote to the leadership review/election."
In response to that, Cummins essentially called Besler a Judas.
"I hate to use a biblical reference, but Christ had 12 apostles and one turned him in," Cummins told Vancouver Sun reporter Jonathan Fowlie. "We share the same initials but I cant rise from the dead and I cant get unanimity from the board. I wouldnt expect to be able to. He couldn't and I can't."
Besler went further in an email obtained by reporter Shane Woodford of CKNW radio.
"John Cummins is now taking $4,000 per month plus expenses, of the party's limited resources to add to his extremely high personal income at a time when we need every resource possible to fight the next general election," Besler wrote.
In response, the BC Conservative leader's daughter sent a scathing email to Besler: "A year ago you came across as young, inexperienced, and incompetent. I now know my theory to be accurate," Carolyn Cummins wrote in the Sept. 6 email.
"I vote YES to you getting the boot from your position. You speak of respect, now respect your fellow conservative members loyalty to their party. Your valued opinion (although entitled) is meaningless and frankly unwarranted, now wanted. You do not speak for all...
"Further please refrain from making such rash comments online. You sound like an imbecile. And make a fool of yourself."
Former party candidate and blogger Dean Skoreyko who posted the email said it was completely inappropriate and viciously low for Cummins immediate family to personally assault BC Conservative members
Martin declined to comment on party activities until after the Sept. 22 AGM. Besler also declined to comment and said he considered the leadership discussion an internal party matter.
© Copyright 2013