The BC Conservatives (CP) will field a candidate in the riding of Nanaimo-North Cowichan for the first time in the party’s history during the next provincial election.
John Sherry earned the CP’s official nomination at a meeting held Saturday, Jan. 12 in Ladysmith.
The Conservatives earned two per cent of the popular vote in the last provincial election, and they haven’t held a seat in the Provincial Legislature since the late 1970s, but Sherry said he couldn’t bring himself to support any of the parties currently operating in the province.
This is Sherry’s first run at office, but he said he’s “always been determined to serve. I put my dreams on the back burner for nearly 20 years. When the opportunity presented itself where I might get to run for a seat in the legislature, I was absolutely honoured and so happy to take on the challenge.”
Sherry said his run for office wouldn’t be possible without the support of his wife Hayley, his “biggest cheerleader and supporter.”
Sherry grew up in Duncan. He worked for a number of years in Prince George and Calgary before returning to Vancouver Island. Sherry now works as an independent real-estate consultant — helping put together transactions on “very large commercial investments” — and with Expocrete, a company specializing in construction, masonry and pre-fab concrete products.
When it comes to policy, creating a business-friendly environment topped Sherry’s list.
“We’re going to have to work with all stakeholders and come up with a comprehensive plan to enhance the environment for businesses to not only locate here but to expand here,” he said. “We’re going to perhaps have to look at accelerating capital cost appreciation and incentives for them to invest in innovation so that they can be more competitive in the global market and increase the number of high-paying jobs here. The first place to look would be the forest industry, but there’s no reason we can’t be adding value to some of our mineral resources and I really like the idea that [David Black] had of upgrading bitumen. If we can be upgrading these hydrocarbon and petroleum resources prior to export, we can add value, add jobs and at the same time keep an eye on sustainability then I think that’s a grand-slam home run.”
A second priority of Sherry’s would be to identify and reduce redundancies within administrations, particularly within education and health care, and direct funds tied up in “administrative overburden” towards “front-line workers.”
Sherry added that BC Conservative leader John Cummins is “fully supportive of us voting as MLAs, voting the will of our constituents. We will not be whipped. We don’t have the same issues here as they might in downtown Vancouver or in Trail. There might be some issues that come to the table, particular legislation, that we really can’t support based on our demographic, our reality. [Cummins] is fully supportive of us supporting that democratic process. So I guess in that sense, we’re about as close to a full coalition of independents as you can get.”
According to Elections BC, only 55 per cent of B.C.’s 2.9 million registered voters cast a ballot during the 2009 provincial election. The BC Conservatives earned 2.1 per cent of the popular vote but failed to elect a representative. Meanwhile, the Green Party of BC earned 8.21 per cent of the popular vote but no seats, the BC NDP earned 42.15 per cent and 35 seats and the BC Liberal Party earned 45.82 per cent and 49 seats. One independent candidate was elected.
An Ipsos Reid poll conducted in late November found that nine per cent of British Columbian voters support the BC Conservatives. Meanwhile, seven per cent of B.C. voters backed the Greens, 35 per cent supported the Liberals, and the NDP received the support of 48 per cent of voters.
B.C.’s next provincial election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, 2013.