Kieren Report – Cummins’ revenge will be Liberal defeat

The most important political figure in B.C. in the New Year will be Conservative Party leader John Cummins

Kieren Report - Cummins’ revenge will be Liberal defeat

I’m having a little trouble wrapping my head around the reality that the most important political figure in B.C. in the New Year will be Conservative Party leader John Cummins.

He’s over the hill. His elevator barely makes it to the top floor. His social conservatism is embarrassing. And yet, he is emerging as the architect of a majority NDP government in 2013.

Just before Christmas, a poll by Forum Research Inc. revealed that the upstart Conservatives are now running neck and neck with the faltering Liberals at 23 per cent support. The NDP has 34 per cent support, enough to form a comfortable majority if the free enterprise vote remains so evenly divided.

Some media poli-wags have dismissed the poll because Forum does not have a great track record. However, I think it is important to note that this was a traditional telephone survey and the sample was a large one, more than 1,000 voters.

The poll also identified a reversal of popularity for Premier Christy Clark. Less than a third of voters approve of Clark’s performance and 45 per cent disapprove. Dix, on the other hand, has an approval rating of 37 per cent with just 28 per cent disapproving.

This is sweet indeed for Cummins. His hatred of the Liberals is so complete he actually voted NDP in 2009 while he was still a Tory MP even though his riding ran a Conservative candidate.

I know he bristles when accused of splitting the free enterprise vote. He’d like us to believe it’s about forgotten right of centre voices being heard. In fact, he knows well he is setting the stage for an NDP majority and he is content. This is not about potentially governing, it’s about revenge.

The genesis of this free enterprise coup d’état is the decision two decades ago by Gordon Wilson and Gordon Campbell to ignore the underpinnings of the Social Credit coalition and erase all vestiges of Conservatism on the ruling right.

You might recall that W.A.C. Bennett, a Conservative, stole the name Social Credit from Alberta not because he was enamoured with the Prairie party’s funny money policies and Christian values but because he was savvy enough to know that it would take a coalition of Tories and Grits to sideline the dreaded socialists.

We don’t have to wait long to discover whether or not Cummins and his Conservatives are the real thing. This spring there will be byelections in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam.

I believe the NDP will win the Port Moody-Coquitlam seat vacated by Iain Black who quit the Liberals to become the Vancouver Board of Trade CEO.

But, Barry Penner’s Fraser Valley seat is another matter. Penner, the always popular environment minister, has told folks he quit to spend more time with his family. But, his riding supporters know better. They know he had lost faith in his party and they may be in a mood to punish Premier Clark.

Cummins’ candidate in this battle will likely be high profile SFU criminology professor John Martin who has written a controversial right wing column for the Chilliwack Times for years.

I think he has a fair chance of taking the seat.

If that happens and the Conservatives actually get a desk and a voice in the legislature in 2012, Christy might just as well turn out the lights in the West Wing and hand the keys to Dix. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

Vancouver Island Symphony principal violinist and concertmaster Calvin Dyck is among the musicians performing in the upcoming Salmon and Trout concert. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Vancouver Island Symphony will make a splash with fish-themed quintets concert

Performance was to take place in November but was rescheduled due to COVID-19

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

VIU music instructors Hans Verhoeven, Ben Henriques and Ken Lister (from left) are presenting a weekly jazz performance series with pianist James Darling (not pictured). (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU music instructors presenting online jazz concert series

Musicians getting ‘back in shape’ performing American Songbook standards

Nanaimo’s Todd Cameron won the $1,000 Fan Favourite prize in Vancouver radio station CFOX 99.3 FM’s one-minute movie contest for his version of ‘The Big Lebowski.’ (Photo courtesy Todd Cameron)
Nanaimo man’s 60-second stop-motion ‘Big Lebowski’ remake wins fans’ choice award

Todd Cameron takes home $1,000 prize in Vancouver radio station contest

Most Read