If the departure of a star candidate and an executive member wasn't enough for the BC Conservative Party (BCCP) in Chilliwack, the resignation of the constituency association president is a sure sign of trouble.
Lyle Collie, one of 21 BCCP constituency presidents censured by the party, has tendered his resignation effective Dec. 9.
"I was looking at the direction the party was going and it was not the way I expected when I first joined up," Collie told the Times.
"I'm not bitter, I'm not grumpy, I just don't fit so I would be no help to the party."
Collie's departure has been delayed only because he has wanted to leave the local constituency in good enough shape for someone else to take over.
Since the party's annual general meeting, most of the local executive has also resigned, according to Collie.
Despite the difficulties, a local BC Conservative Party member told the Times that the Chilliwack constituency will announce a candidate in the new year.
In September John Martin, who was the third-place BCCP candidate in the Chilliwack-Hope April byelection, announced his defection to the BC Liberals.
The UFV criminology professor and former Times columnist had frequently compared the current BC Liberal government's policies to those of the NDP.
Then in October, Ben Besler, who was the party's vice-president and a 2009 candidate in Chilliwack, also announced he was leaving the Conservatives for the Liberals.
Besler said in a statement that he has witnessed the "dismembering of the BC Conservative party's infrastructure, the squandering of party resources and a 'my way or the highway' approach by leadership."
Collie agreed, as he was one of 21 CA presidents who signed an open letter in October that was highly critical of leader John Cummins.
"Under John Cummins, we have lost our only MLA, our candidate in Chilliwack and many young promising candidates who see no future with John Cummins and Randy White," the letter said, in part.
"John Cummins has taken us to the foot of the mountain but he is not able to take us to the top. We are therefore asking John Cummins to resign immediately."
As for a move to the BC Liberals a la Martin and Besler, Collie was adamant that wasn't for him.
"I'm not sure where I am going to put my vote," he said.
Meanwhile, the BCCP announced new candidates Monday for the ridings of Kelowna-Mission, Peace River South and Westside Kelowna.
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