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B.C. Conservatives 'energetic' after AGM
They may have lost at the polls, but the B.C. Conservatives aren’t giving up.
About 80 people attended the party’s annual general meeting in Vernon Saturday, the first major gathering since May’s provincial election in which the Conservatives only got 4.7 per cent of the popular vote.
“It was a very energetic meeting,” said Tom Birch, who was elected president Saturday.
“A lot of people are looking to the future. After the election, people were worn out and discouraged but the party had doubled in size and there were growth issues. Now, we’re trying to deal with those issues.”
Birch, who lives in Salmon Arm and was the Shuswap candidate in May, says his goal is to move the party towards the future and away from a past dominated by infighting.
“We need to make sure we take what we learned in the election and help the constituencies prepare for 2017 (election),” he said.
A major step towards that will be selecting a party leader in April.
“We have two great candidates,” Birch said of Kamloops’ Dan Brooks and Rick Peterson of Vancouver.
Birch also wants to build on what he sees as a general public dissatisfaction with the political system in B.C. and particularly the Liberal government.
“I do believe people are dominated by the NDP. They vote for them or against them,” he said.
“There isn’t a lot of support for the Liberals. People vote Liberal because they are voting anti-NDP. We are going to appeal to the base we believe is there. We are going to be prepared for 2017.”
Besides Birch, delegates elected a new party executive Saturday. Vice-president is Paul Redekopp, while treasurer is Yvonne Darcel and secretary is Nathan Giede.
Four directors were elected, including Janet Green, from Lumby, and Scott Anderson, from Vernon.
Birch isn’t surprised that three members of the board come from the North Okanagan-Shuswap.
“We hold one-quarter of the party membership in the North Okanagan. It shows the demographics of the party,” he said.