Conservative concerned with candidate
Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter
Efforts to elect a Conservative member of parliament for Richmond suffered a major setback Wednesday, and this could be just one of many to come.
Charles Horton, president of the Conservative constituency association, told The Richmond Review that he resigned at Wednesday’s meeting of the riding’s board of directors.
“I just don’t see the present nominee winning an election in Richmond,” Horton said. “I don’t believe the majority of people in Richmond are into the same issues he’s into.”
After calling the meeting to order, and reading the agenda, Horton read the president’s report, which was a letter explaining his decision to resign effective immediately. He then walked out, and the first vice-president, Gary Cross, took over the meeting.
“I just felt I couldn’t continue acting as president when I couldn’t put my whole support behind the nominee,” he said of social conservative nominee Darrel Reid, a Delta resident, past president of Focus on the Family Canada and one-time chief of staff to former Opposition leader Preston Manning.
Rowena Ekstrom, who sits on the board, said Horton’s departure is a “big blow” for the local efforts to have a Conservative member elected.
“There was a lot of disappointment. We were quite shocked. It’s a shame to see somebody of that calibre leave.”
And Horton’s feelings aren’t unique, judging from the conversations she’s overheard.
“I know that a couple (of board members) have intimated to me that they will be very busy and they wanted to work for someone else for a change.”
Ekstrom also believes that three of the other Conservative nomination candidates—Howard Jampolsky, Bill Majcher and Grant Smith—had a greater chance of running a successful campaign against Liberal MP of Richmond Raymond Chan.
Ekstrom said the Conservative candidates in the last few years have been a disappointment.
“The candidates that were chosen somehow or other don’t cut the mustard.”
Gary Cross is the new riding president and he said the board has not accepted Horton’s resignation and attempts will be made to woo him back.
“I’m not worried about the divisive nature of our board of directors,” Cross said. “Divisiveness in politics is nothing new.”
Asked if Horton’s departure will hurt, Cross said: “Charlie is one of the best riding presidents I’ve ever worked with. So it’s obvious it wouldn’t be a good thing for him not to be the riding president.”
Darrel Reid congratulated Horton for all of the hard work and effort he’s put into supporting the party for so many years.
But he doesn’t view Horton’s departure as a blow to his election bid.
He said all nomination meetings see this sort of thing happening, with different candidates running with various visions and views.
“I don’t think there’s anything abnormal happening here.”