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Political shift underway in B.C., says confident Conservative Leader John Rustad

VICTORIA — B.C. Conservative Leader John Rustad says Premier David Eby and Opposition BC United Leader Kevin Falcon are both looking over their shoulders at the political gains being made by the new kid on the block.

Rustad says the presence of his two-member Conservative caucus has stirred debate and changed dialogue at the legislature and the party appears to be gaining momentum with voters as British Columbia's scheduled fall election approaches.

Some recent public opinion polls suggest the Conservatives, who received less than two per cent of the vote in the 2020 election and did not win a seat, would finish in second place if an election were held today.

Rustad told a news conference Wednesday that the Conservatives have caused Eby to express anxiety about the party and forced Falcon to change policy, especially with regards to the province's carbon tax.

He says the Conservatives are pulling together a broad coalition of voters, and the party will serve as an alternative to both the New Democrats and BC United.

Rustad, who became Conservative leader last March after being dumped from the BC United caucus in August 2022, downplays business community calls for a Conservative-BC United merger, but says he's not ruling out some form of talks.

The other Conservative member, Bruce Banman, was also elected as a BC United candidate before switching parties.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2024.

The Canadian Press