Shortly after the BC Conservative Party announced 15 dissident members would be disciplined for calling for leader John Cummins to resign, a letter was delivered to Allison Patton, president of the Surrey-White Rock BC Conservative constituency association.
It informs her that her membership has been revoked for violating the party bylaw covering leadership reviews, an act which violates another bylaw that requires members to “support the party constitution and bylaws.”
Patton, the letter states, was trying to “revisit” the leadership question by making calls for Cummins to resign, activities the latter calls “clearly and demonstrably harmful to the unity, image and effectiveness of the party.”
It was signed “with regret” by party president, Al Siebring.
Patton, a publicly vocal critic of Cummins since last week, was expecting expulsion.
In a written statement released Tuesday night after the letter landed, Patton said she and the other 14 were singled out as dissidents even before they called for Cummins to step down as party leader.
“It was only after that label was applied to us and we were threatened with expulsion that we asked for Mr. Cummins’ resignation,” Patton said.
“In light of the confusion regarding this attack, we ask that a truth and reconciliation committee be set up with one individual appointed by either side…”
Alternatively, Patton said. there should be a debate organized between Cummins and herself or Burnaby North constituency association president Ariane Eckardt, another public critic of Cummins.
Patton said Salme Leis, vice-president of the Surrey-White Rock constituency association, will take over as president.
“In the next short while, I will be examining the various options available to me given this drastic response by the executive of the BC Conservative Party,” Patton said.
Before the letter arrived, she told Peace Arch News those options could include a lawsuit.
Patton also forwarded, by email, statements from eight party association executives calling for a special general meeting.
The list includes the Surrey-White Rock, Burnaby North, Burnaby-Edmonds, Coquitlam-Maillardville, Juan de Fuca, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, Esquimalt-Royal Roads and Abbotsford South association executives. Six of the eight also called on Cummins to resign, with the apparent exception of Juan de Fuca and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, who only demanded a special meeting.
Patton also released a letter of resignation from South Island regional director Jan Robinson of Victoria.
“Sadly, I have found myself struggling with the direction and the decisions of the Party (after the recent annual general meeting),” Robinson wrote.
“Many of these decisions are indicative of the lack of respect and trust for the dedicated grassroots members who have built this party.”