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B.C. Conservatives snatch another candidate from B.C. United

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John Rustad has claimed another small victory over his former party, snatching B.C. United candidate Chris Moore to run for the B.C. Conservatives.

The latest blow was delivered Wednesday in the B.C. legislature's rose garden, where Moore announced he will represent the Conservatives in the Powell River-Sunshine Coast riding, where he previously served as district councillor in Sechelt.

Moore, who appeared with Rustad before a dozen gathered reporters, said he didn't see a path to victory with B.C. United.

"I got to pull the trigger, and here we are," Moore said. "The B.C. United flag wasn't going to carry the day for us on the coast."

Both B.C. United and the B.C. Conservatives have touted Moore as a business leader in the community. He's been a Realtor with Sutton Group-West Coast Realty since 1983, according to his LinkedIn page.

Kevin Falcon's party confirmed Moore had jumped ship on Wednesday morning, writing on social media that there were "fundamental differences" between him and leadership on a variety of issues.

According to the post, Moore felt that B.C. United "releasing factual information on extremist candidates" within Rustad's party would "hurt his changes of winning his own seat."

When asked about the post, Moore said: "The last thing I would be doing is joining an extremist party."

The candidate is running in a traditional NDP stronghold – which has been held by the party since 2005 – against a new but well-known NDP candidate in Randene Neill, a former journalist.

Despite that, Moore said he likes his chances.

"This riding, just like this province, is in the mood for change, and they want a major change," he said. "They don't just want some tinkering with the engine, they want a complete overhaul."

Earlier this month, high-profile B.C. United MLA Elenore Sturko stunned many supporters by crossing the aisle to the Conservatives, which led to accusations that she had sold out her LGBTQ2S+ community. 

Sturko had previously criticized the Conservatives' stance on issues such as removing sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) resources from schools.

Another MLA, Lorne Doerkson, defected to the Conservatives in May.

"And in all three cases, I think, you see people who left B.C. United -because they felt like the momentum was on the other side,” observed UBC political scientist Gerald Baier.

Rustad was also elected under B.C. United – when the party was still called the B.C. Liberals – before being ousted in 2022 for making controversial comments about climate change. 

While the Nechako Lakes representative said he believes climate change is real, he disputed that the crisis should be addressed by limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

Reducing emissions is a cornerstone of climate policies adopted by many governments around the world, and is a measure supported by climate scientists.

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