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Former MP John Cummins announces run for B.C. Conservative leadership

VANCOUVER - Freshly resigned former Tory MP John Cummins has announced his candidacy for the leadership of the B.C. Conservatives, hoping to revive a party that's long been on the fringe of provincial politics.

The veteran politician, who represented Delta-Richmond East in Parliament for 18 years, told dozens of cheering supporters in Vancouver he wants to give B.C. voters a real choice between the governing B.C. Liberals and the Opposition New Democrats.

Cummins says one of the first policies he'd install if his party formed government would be to ban political donations by corporations and unions, and he says he'd look at abolishing the HST that his federal party negotiated with the province.

The leaderless B.C. Conservative party, which has never elected a member to the provincial legislature, is set to pick a new leader on May 26, as speculation grows that Premier Christy Clark will call an election earlier than the planned date of 2013.

Cummins rejected suggestions that the B.C. Conservatives will split the centre-right vote in the province, to the benefit of the NDP.

The 69-year-old announced he was stepping down from federal politics earlier this month.

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