He’s the new but familiar face of the new B.C. Conservatives.
As has been speculated for some time, former Delta-Richmond East MP John Cummins announced his candidacy for the leadership of the provincial Conservatives.
But since no other candidates came forward by the Tuesday night deadline, Cummins is expected to be officially named the leader of the B.C. Conservatives at a party convention this May.
In Tuesday morning’s press conference at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, Cummins emphasized during his speech that he wants B.C. voters to have a viable alternative to the Liberals and NDP, which he described as “old line parties” inextricably linked to special interest groups in the form of corporations and unions.
“The choice between the Liberals and NDP is like a choice between airline food and hospital food,” he said. “We can do better, British Columbians deserve a choice they are actually excited to vote for, not two parties they have to hold their noses to support.”
Cummins hasn’t yet announced where he’ll be running, but he’s reportedly already moved to Langley.
If elected, Cummins said he’d push to ban political donations from corporations and unions.
Asked how he’ll appeal to younger voters, Cummins said: “I think that if you look at the team that’s surrounding me, very few on that team are over 40 years of age. So we do have a young team here, a team that can reach out to these younger voters and I think that the ideas we’re promoting and expressing are ideas that do appeal to the young people. We’re talking about MLAs who are not going to be trained seals when they hit the provincial legislature, we’re talking about attracting MLAs who will speak their mind, represent their people and yet be part of this Conservative team.
“That’s the kind of government that we’re looking at promoting. I think that’s what young people want.”
In his 18 years in Ottawa, Cummins earned a reputation as being a maverick politician who freely speaks his mind, unafraid to ruffle the feathers of party brass. That reputation kept him off any cabinet postings.
“I think that if you look at my political record over the last 18 years, you’ll find that I’m not really a trained seal.”
Cummins was first elected as a Reform MP in 1993 and has served in Parliament since. He’s been a Conservative MP since 2003, but isn’t seeking re-election in the federal election.
The B.C. Conservatives haven’t elected an MLA since 1978.