Bruce Banman, the B.C. United MLA for Abbotsford South, has crossed the floor to join John Rustad’s B.C. Conservatives, giving them official party status.
A political party needs two elected members to gain official party status, which means additional funding from the legislature, spots on committees and more opportunities to question the government in the house.
“I know first-hand that the Conservative Party of British Columbia is the only party that stands for what’s right in the legislature, rather than what’s politically convenient or politically correct,” Banman said in a statement Wednesday.
In a statement, B.C. United leader Kevin Falcon said Banman’s departure “was not entirely unexpected due to ongoing internal management challenges” and said his “decision betrays the Abbotsford constituents who elected him as a member of our team.”
The defection is a boon for Rustad who has promised to revive the B.C. Conservatives after being booted from the B.C. United caucus, then called the B.C. Liberals, in August 2022 over his climate change skepticism. Rustad was acclaimed as B.C. Conservative leader on March 31 and has pursued a populist agenda, declaring himself “proudly pro-freedom and pro-trucker.”
Rustad has also called for the jobs of unvaccinated health care workers to be reinstated.
The party saw major gains in the June byelection to replace former premier John Horgan in Langford-Juan de Fuca, finishing second with 20 per cent of the vote behind NDP Ravi Parmar.
B.C. United leader Kevin Falcon blamed brand confusion just two months after the party’s name change for the poor showing.
More to come…
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