The entire board the of Abbotsford South Liberal riding association resigned yesterday in protest against the appointment of Darryl Plecas as the party's candidate in the riding.
In a letter published on November 20 in Abbotsford Today, former association president Stephen Evans wrote:
It is with a deep sense of regret that I have accepted the resignation of My Board of Directors for the BC Liberals – Abbotsford South Riding. With this letter, I also am resigning as President of the Abbotsford South Riding Association.
The purpose of a Riding Association is three fold: 1. to sign up members; 2. to raise funds to support a campaign; and, 3. to help find and select a candidate. After being notified that Darryl Plecas will be acclaimed by the Green Light Committee for the nomination of the Riding of Abbotsford South, the Riding Association was left with no other response by to resign.
The appointment of Darryl Plecas was both unfair and not democratic. The Riding Association was not consulted on this appointment. If the Riding was consulted, the Riding Association would have stated that the memberships and Riding Association Funds were not generated by Darryl Plecas nor his campaign team.
The only reason for Darryl Plecas’ appointment was that he could not defend a challenge from Moe Gill if there was a fair nomination process. This leads to the question that if Darryl can’t beat Moe Gill in a fair nomination process, how can he win against John van Dongen in an election?
While the letter drew no response on the news page of the B.C. Liberal Party, reaction among B.C. bloggers and tweeters was swift.
Laila Yuile, blogging at No Strings Attached, wrote: "Clearly, the powers that be running the show at BC Lib headquarters are bound and determined to demonstrate to the public that they don’t even care about democratic process in their own den of inequity. Good grief. At least this riding association has some sense and walked."
Liberal blogger Steve Forseth criticized the Abbotsford board:
As someone who joined the BC Liberals in 2004 and then joined the then Cariboo-South, now Cariboo-Chilcotin Riding Association, and being involved in two candidate selection processes, the interpretation of the candidate selection process of the BC Liberal Party by the Abbotsford-South Riding Association is the incorrect one. What occurs is called the "Green Light Process".
There are things the Riding Association must have in place before a Candidate Selection Meeting may formally occur BUT at no time does the Riding Association get directly involved in the candidate selection process as far as whether or not candidate(s) are acceptable to the BC Liberal Party and the Party Leader. There is a separate Committee for this and that Committee acts independent of the local Riding Association.
In that regard - I'm very disappointed that my fellow Party members' in Abbotsford-South chose the action they did.
As of early Wednesday morning, John van Dongen, the independent MLA currently holding Abbotsford South, had nothing about the incident on his website.
Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.