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BC Conservative leader Hanni quits amidst mass resignation

VANCOUVER - The B.C. Conservative Party suffered a serious blow today with the resignation of party leader Wilf Hanni and the majority of its board of directors.

The split is the result of irresolvable party infighting, according to a press release sent to media late Tuesday afternoon:

We were hoping to achieve peace in the Party so that we could work together to build on our success and turn our Party into a real force in the next election campaign, but our efforts continue to be undermined. The constant infighting is continuing and there does not appear to be any end in sight.

The decision for the mass resignation came over the last 10 days, said outgoing vice-president Bob Eedy.

“There’s just total dissent within our group,” he told The Tyee.

“We’ve got two really good opponents out there in the NDP and B.C. Liberals. Those are the guys we should be fighting and we’re not fighting them -- we’re fighting each other.”

The dissent was the result of party structure and bylaws and was not about policy, Eedy said.

“When you have a president in there that controls the party base of it… then it’s difficult to get anything done.”

Members of the splintering group are considering options, he added, saying he was confident the departing group would return to politics in some form.

“I think you need a strong conservative group here in B.C.,” he said.

The B.C. Conservatives ran candidates in 24 of the 85 ridings in the May 12 election, but failed to win a seat.

Party President Wayne McGrath, who remains on the Board of Directors, did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Garrett Zehr reports for The Tyee.

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