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Conservatives mixed on Lekstrom's leaving

Comments quoted last week in a Tyee story have raised questions about who speaks for the British Columbia Conservative Party.

On Friday Dean Skoreyko said newly independent former Liberal energy minister Blair Lekstrom is a “rat” who he personally felt would be unwelcome in the Conservative Party. The story described Skoreyko as a “Conservative Party spokesperson and former candidate.”

“As First Vice President of the B.C. Conservative Party, please allow me to inform you that Dean Skoreyko is not an official spokesperson for our party,” wrote Mischa Popoff in an e-mail responding to the Tyee story.

Several representatives of the party speak regularly with the media and each time are careful to be clear what are their own opinions and what are the party's positions, he said.

“I have no doubt that many of our members are at this stage agonizing over whether Lekstrom acted out of principle or self-interest," he said.

"But any such opinions that might result at such an early stage, whether they are for or against Lekstrom’s character as a politician and as a person, are the opinions of individuals, NOT the opinion of the B.C. Conservative Party.”

Conservative Party President Wayne McGrath wrote to say the party did not authorize Skoreyko's comments and that they don't reflect the party's position. “We deeply regret the statements and I have phoned Mr. Lekstrom and left a message apologizing to him on behalf of the B.C. Conservative Party.”

Finally, Randy White, who chairs the party's tactical advisory group, responded on Public Eye radio to Skoreyko's comments in the Tyee: "Well, first of all he's not a spokesperson for the party. That's his opinion. But, certainly, it's not my opinion and it's not the opinion of the people I'm advising."

Skoreyko, for his part, said, “I am the official spokesperson for the Party.”

The Conservative Party's website today lists Skoreyko's position as the “Membership and CA Development Chairman” and he's also listed as the contact on four of the six news releases the party has sent out since Nov. 26, 2009.

The most recent one, released May 20, describes Skoreyko as “B.C. Party spokesperson.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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